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In Re: Shri Inder Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Petn. No. 1295 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1968P& H328
ActsLegal Practitioners Act, 1879 - Sections 13; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 151 - Order 47, Rule 1
AppellantIn Re: Shri Inder Singh
Appellant Advocate J.N. Kaushal, Sr. Adv. and; M.R. Agnihotri, Adv.
Respondent Advocate G.R. Majithia, Adv. for; Adv. General,; G.P. Jain, A
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredRaghbir Singh v. The Crown
Excerpt:
.....in modern life. i venture to think that in the present ease the certificates produced by the petitioner have clearly and categorically states that he is repentant of the past and his recent conduct has been such as to ensure the expectation of honest dealings in future. the various decisions of the high courts can bereconciled with the view that each case has to be examined on its individual merits and if the court is satisfied that there are forthcomingassurances of good behaviour in the future on basis of recent conduct and experience of the person concerned past lapses may be overlooked or condoned......judicial magistrate 1st class, mansa; shri bhagwan singh, judicial magistrate 1st class, phul; shri dara singh and shri harbans singh gujral, senior advocates of this court, and lastly of shri om parkash, president district bar association, bhatinda and of shri nauhar chand jindal, president bar association, mansa. it is not necessary to refer to other certificates of persons who are in a position to know about the present activities and attitude on life of the 6. the proposition that an application under the inherent powers lies to this court for the purpose in view is not contested though every one is agreed that the fountain of justice should be kept pure, unsullied and unpolluted and the legal profession being an important adjunct its members are expected to follow a path of.....
Judgment:

Shamsher Bahadur, J.

1. In this petition which is described as 'civil review application the inherent powers of this Court have been invoked under the Legal Practitioners Act for restoration of the License of Inder Singh who was disbarred from practising the profession of law by a Division Bench consisting of Tek Chand and Dua JJ. on 8th April, 1963, in pursuance of its earlier order of 12th March, 1963 (reported in 1963-65 Pun LR 619). Incidentally it may be mentioned that leave to appeal to the Supreme Court from this judgment was declined.

2. Inder Singh, while practising as a Pleader in Mansa in a regular inquiry held by the District and Sessions Judge, Bhatinda, on 25th of May, 1962 was found to have accepted a sum of Rs. 900 from his client in a criminal case for payment as bribe to the doctor, who in fact was not paid this amount, nor was there any occasion for him to show a favour for which this bribe might have been paid. The report was accepted by the Bench of Tek Chand and Dutt JJ., dealing with the complaint of professional misconduct against this Pleader. On 12th March, 1963, when the order was pronounced, the Bench thought that the Bar Council was the appropriate authority to punish an advocate, it having transpired after the arguments had been addressed and before the judgment had been pronounced that Inder Singh in the mean time had been enrolled as an advocate. The Bench accordingly refrained from passing an order itself and referred the matter to the Bar Council for such action as it deemed appropriate.

3. Subsequently, a review petition was made on behalf of the Bar Council, Punjab under the provisions of Order 47, Rule 1, read with Section 151, Civil Procedure Code, on the around that Chapter V of the Advocate Act, 1961, empowering the Bar Council to take disciplinary action not having been enforced yet, the High Court itself could take the appropriate action. The Bench having already expressed its view about the misconduct 'and the aggravated nature of his offence while practising as a pleader' directed that the petitioner's name should be struck off from the roll of Pleaders. This order of 8th of April, 1963, is now the subject-matter of review in the present petition which was made on 28th of April, 1967.

4. It is submitted in this petition and in the course of arguments by Mr. Jagan Nath Kaushal that the petitioner since his name was struck off the roll has been living the life of a farmer in Mansa village and has remained devoted to agriculture during these years. He has sought for a restoration of his license on the ground that he has since redeemed himself and has proved himself to be a useful member of society and fit to practise once again the honourable profession of law. Both in this petition and in the submission of the learned counsel, Inder Singh is repentant and wants to make amends for his past conduct should this Courtbe pleased to show clemency in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. Certificates of persons of standing and esteem have been obtained to demonstrate the change in the present attitude of the petitioner and his deep repentance of his lapses in the past.

5. Mr. Hukarn Singh, at one time Speaker of the Parliament, has certified in Annexure A of 11th of March, 1967, that for many years he had known the petitioner who belongs to an area covered by the constituency represented by him as a Member of Parliament between 1952 and 1962. In the opinion of Mr. Hukam Singh, the petitioner had been 'leading an honest and honourable life and can be relied upon.... He feels really repentant of such a lapse and I feel that he can be depended upon in future to lead a straight-forward life in his conduct as a lawyer' The Chief Minister, Mr. Gurnam Singh, who at one time was a Judge of this Court, has certified in Annexure B of 26th of February, 1967, that the petitioner who is personally known to him for many years 'is leading an honest and honourable life and is thoroughly repentant on his past act for which his license for practice was cancelled'. There are also certificates to the same effect from Shri Ved Parkash Sharma, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot; Shri K. S. Bhalla, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhatinda, Shri Gurdev Singh Gill, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mansa; Shri S. R. Goel, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Mansa; Shri Bhagwan Singh, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Phul; Shri Dara Singh and Shri Harbans Singh Gujral, Senior Advocates of this Court, and lastly of Shri Om Parkash, President District Bar Association, Bhatinda and of Shri Nauhar Chand Jindal, President Bar Association, Mansa. It is not necessary to refer to other certificates of persons who are in a position to know about the present activities and attitude on life of the

6. The proposition that an application under the inherent powers lies to this Court for the purpose in view is not contested Though every one is agreed that the fountain of justice should be kept pure, unsullied and unpolluted and the legal profession being an important adjunct its members are expected to follow a path of strict rectitude and discipline, there are two views which are reflected in the judgments which have been cited before us to illustrate the positions which have been adopted by Courts in cases of this nature. According to one standpoint, which the Division Bench itself projected in the words of Tek Chand J., in 1963-65 Pun LR 619, 'such persons have no place whatsoever in the legal profession and by their dishonourable conduct would discredit the profession'

The petitioner himself was described by the learned Judge as 'nothing short of a menace to the litigants whose interests he might be called upon to espouse, as he is quite capable of betraying them . Such a person should choose a vocation in which standard of integrity is less exacting. Dua J., likewise while observing that 'the lawyer is indisputably an integral part of our legal system .... in the Indian Republican Bar' said that

'when the professional lawyer, therefore, begins to commit breaches of law he ceases to deserve to belong to this great profession. The position becomes worse when a lawyer participates in or abets and encourages bribery or professes to do so for interfering with the administration of justice .... A lawyer who cheats his client or attempts to do so, in my view, brings into disrepute the entire profession of law, and justly forfeits his right to belong to the guild'.

7. To say that human nature remains unchanged and unchangeable, according to the other view, is an unnecessary surrender to the gospel of despair and by accepting this creed we rob ourselves of that faith and hope which is at once the most powerful incentive and control in modern life. Indeed, we would be ignoring altogether the reformative requirement of punishment if we say that a person who has committed an offence of the kind perpetrated by the petitioner can never be made useful member of society. The pragmatic approach to this problem, in our view, is to avoid the extreme and logical conclusions of these two perspectives and to examine whether in individual cases the experiment of giving a further trial to a delinquent advocate is worth a trial.

8. A brief reference may now be made to the authorities cited before us. In a Full Bench decision of Kisch, Rachhpal Singh and Bajpai JJ. the Allahabad High Court in the matter of, H, a Vakil of Banda, AIR 1935 All 321 (FB) an application was made by a Vakil of Banda who had been disbarred on 25th June, 1930. The Vakil prayed for the restoration of his name on the roll of Vakils and filed a number of certificates including those from the Commissioner of the Jhansi Division, the District Magistrate of Banda, the Sessions and Subordinate Judge of Banda and the Munsif of Banda and from other members of the Bar Practising at Allahabad and Banda. All the testimonials suggested that the applicant had been leading an honourable life and was thoroughly repentant of his past action. In a short judgment the Full Bench allowed the prayer of the Vakil and said that although there is no express provision for a review of an order made under me Legal Practitioners Act, there is inherent power in the High Court to restore a pleader whose name has been struck off the rolls.

By the same Court, a stricter view was taken by another Full Bench In the matter of, R, a Mukhtear, Budaun, AIR 1937 All 50 (FB). by Niamatullah, Bennet and Harries, JJ. On the facts of that particular case, it was found by the Bench that case for reinstatement of the Mukhtear had not been made out, but it was not denied that the High Court has inherent power to reinstate the legal practitioner dismissed for misconduct. It was observed by the Full Bench that:--

'The nature of the offence or misconduct for which he was disbarred, the length of time which has elapsed since his dismissal, the extent to which he has been tried in other walks of life, the opportunities he had of acting honestly in the face of temptations and the opinions ofrespectable persons who have had personal experience of his honesty are the important determining factors'.

9. The Lahore High Court through the Full Bench of Ram Lal, Munir and Khosla JJ. In re G., ex-Advocate, Lahore, AIR 1946 Lab 338 (FB), observed that hardships and pity are not the considerations which could be taken into account and on unsuitable person cannot be admitted or retained as a matter of grace or charity. Even this Bench which took a strict view said that an applicant can satisfy that he has got so chastened by remorse and hardship that he can resist temptations to which he gave way once. The only way to demonstrate the changed bent in the outlook of such an applicant is to produce evidence of those who have come into contact with him and this duty in the submission of Mr. Kaushal has been amply performed by the petitioner who has furnished certificates from the highest quarters. The High Court of East Punjab similarly has adopted positions bordering on both the views of which mention has been made. In re. Sri Ram Gautama, AIR 1949 E. P. 83, a Full Bench of Teja Singh, Bhandari and Khosla JJ., while conforming to the accepted view that

'it has always been the policy of the law that the fountain of justice should be kept pure and undefiled and that nothing should be done which is likely to impair the credit and authority of the Judges or the reputation of the members of the legal profession'.

said that the applicant during the six years intervening between his disbarment and the application for restoration has done all that was possible for him to do to retrieve his reputation, and allowed him to be re-admitted as a Pleader of the High Court.

On the other hand, a Full Bench of Achhru Ram, Khosla and Kapur JJ., in Raghbir Singh v. The Crown, AIR 1949 E. P. 344, held that a person convicted for cheating his clients could never be reinstated in spite of character recommendations, Kapur J., speaking for the Court, however, said that: --

The petitioners life and conduct since thedisbarment must be such as to satisfy the Courtthat if restored to the Bar he will be upright,honourable and honest in all his dealings andhis restoration to the Bar will be compatiblewith a proper respect of the Court for itself andwith the dignity of the profession'.

The certificates in Raghbir Singh's case, AIR 1949 E. P. 344, on meticulous examination were found wanting in the definite expression of purpose for which they were meant. I venture to think that in the present ease the certificates produced by the petitioner have clearly and categorically states that he is repentant of the past and his recent conduct has been such as to ensure the expectation of honest dealings in future.

10. It is not necessary to linger longer on the examination of the other authorities which point in the direction of one or the other of the two views propounded on the subject. The various decisions of the High Courts can bereconciled with the view that each case has to be examined on its individual merits and if the Court is satisfied that there are forthcomingassurances of good behaviour in the future on basis of recent conduct and experience of the person concerned past lapses may be overlooked or condoned. After all, if an Advocate misbehaves again, he can always be adequately punished.

11. According to the material placed before us, we are of the opinion that the petitioner deserves the indulgence he has craved for, and we would accordingly allow this petition without making any order as to costs.

S.B. Capoor, Actg. C.J.

12. I agree.


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