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Sagar Ram Gupta Vs. Banarsi Das Gupta and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. No. 119-E of 1973 in Election Petr. No. 3 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1974P& H330
ActsRepresentation of the People Act - Sections 87 and 99(1); Bar Councils Act, 1926 - Sections 16; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 151; Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 - Sections 27; Constitution of India - Article 227(3)
AppellantSagar Ram Gupta
RespondentBanarsi Das Gupta and ors.
Cases ReferredHem Raj v. Ramji Lal
Excerpt:
.....by single judge in a writ petition filed under article 226 of the constitution of india. in a writ application filed under articles 226 and 227 of constitution, if any order/judgment/decree is passed in exercise of jurisdiction under article 226, a writ appeal will lie. but, no writ appeal will lie against a judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - --(i) the taxing officer is satisfied that the fee was paid to the advocate, vakil or attorney before the hearing ;and (ii) unless the party claiming to have such fee allowed shall, before the hearing, file in the office of the taxing officer, a certificate signed by the advocate, vakil or attorney as the case may be, certifying the amount of the fee or.....r.s. narula, j. 1. this is an application of the returned candidate whose election was upheld while dismissing the opposite party's election petition with costs. while disposing of the election petition, i fixed the fee of the present applicant's counsel as rs. one thousand. except to the extent of quantum of counsel's fee to which the applicant might have been entitled as a part of the costs awarded in his favour, the rest of the amount of costs had to be fixed by the registrar under rule 27(b) chapter 4-gg, vol. v of the rules of this court. relevant part of rule 27(b) provides:--'if the costs have not been fixed by the designated judge under clause (b) of section 99(1) of the act (representation of the people act) the costs shall be taxed by the registrar.............'while discharging.....
Judgment:

R.S. Narula, J.

1. This is an application of the returned candidate whose election was upheld while dismissing the opposite party's election petition with costs. While disposing of the election petition, I fixed the fee of the present applicant's counsel as Rs. one thousand. Except to the extent of quantum of counsel's fee to which the applicant might have been entitled as a part of the costs awarded in his favour, the rest of the amount of costs had to be fixed by the Registrar under Rule 27(b) Chapter 4-GG, Vol. V of the Rules of this Court. Relevant part of Rule 27(b) provides:--

'If the costs have not been fixed by the designated Judge under clause (b) of Section 99(1) of the Act (Representation of the People Act) the costs shall be taxed by the Registrar.............'

While discharging his duty under the above said rule, the Registrar informed the counsel for the applicant that he was not going to allow the applicant any amount on account of counsel's fee. The reason for adopting that course is given in the draft Memo, of Costs in the following words:--

'Counsel's fee............... not taxed as the fee certificate was filed during the arguments.' On the insistence of the counsel for the applicant to have the counsel's fee included in the Memo, of Costs, the Joint Registrar put up a note dated August 1, 1973 to me for necessary orders in that respect. I passed an order on the said office note on August 2, 1973 to the effect that the application filed by the counsel for the returned candidate may be placed for Motion hearing after informing the counsel of the date fixed for the purpose. It was in pursuance of that order that this application dated July 24, 1973 was put up before me on August 14, 1973. Notice of the application was issued to the counsel for the election petitioner. The prayer made in the application is that the Memo, of Costs be amended and counsel's fee be included therein as there is neither any statutory nor any equitable rule framed under the Representation of the People Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') that such fees are to be included only if a fee certificate is filed by the counsel. The application has been opposed by the learned counsel for the election petitioner.

2. The relevant facts are not in dispute. No fee certificate was filed by the counsel for the respondent-applicant before the commencement of the arguments in the election petition. A fee certificate of Mr. Man Mohan Singh Librehan Advocate for the applicant showing receipt of Rupees five thousand as his fee from the returned candidate on April 16, 1973, was, however, filed before me on May 9, 1973, one day before the conclusion of the arguments of the election petitioner. Section 16 of the Bar Councils Act, 1926 provides that the High Court shall make rules for fixing and regulating by taxation or otherwise the fees payable as costs by any party in respect of the fees of his adversary's advocate upon all proceedings in the High Court or in any Court subordinate thereto. The rules incorporated in part I of Chapter 6-I of Vol. V of the Rules and Orders of this Court have been adopted under Section 16 of the Indian Bar Councils Act vide High Court Notification dated January 13, 1949, Rule 16 of those Rules is in the following words:--

'Notwithstanding anything contained in the rules of the Court and notwithstanding any order of a Judge or Judges, no fee for the appearance of any Advocate, Vakil or Attorney shall, except as in these rules hereinafter provided be allowed on taxation between party and party, or shall be included in any decree or order unless:--

(i) the Taxing Officer is satisfied that the fee was paid to the Advocate, Vakil or Attorney before the hearing ; and

(ii) unless the party claiming to have such fee allowed shall, before the hearing, file in the office of the Taxing Officer, a certificate signed by the Advocate, Vakil or Attorney as the case may be, certifying the amount of the fee or fees actually paid by or on behalf of his client to him or to any other Advocate, Vakil or Attorney in whose place he may have appeared.'

The proviso to that rule is not relevant for our purposes. The contents of such certificate have been prescribed in R. 17. The certificate filed by Mr. Man Mohan Singh Librehan Advocate is in the prescribed form and gives all the requisite particulars.

3. Mr. R. S. Mittal, the learned counsel for the election petitioner, has vehemently contested this application. He has firstly argued that the application is not competent as the powers of the Court to tax costs have been delegated by Rule 27 of Chapter 4-GG Volume V to the Registrar, I do not agree with this contention as it is open to the designated Judge to give directions for taxation of costs and to deal with the objections, if any, raised during the taxation proceedings. Such power is inherent in this Court under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure which has been made applicable to proceedings under the Act by operation of Section 87 of the Act. He has secondly contended that Rule 16 which requires the filing of a fee certificate before the commencement of the hearing of a case starts with a non obstante clause and must, therefore, override all other provisions. Rule 16 would no doubt override any other rule contained in the Rules and Orders framed by the High Court and would override even an order of a Judge or Judges but would not, in my opinion, override any other law for the time being in force as the non obstante clause with which that rule begins is of a restricted nature.

4. Mr. Librehan placed reliance initially on the judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Shantilal v. Bipinlal, AIR 1964 Madh Pra 92 wherein it has been laid down in paragraph 18 of the judgment that an almost identical rule which governs taxation of costs in suits, cannot be applied for taxation of costs in an election petition, as those rules with regard to taxation of counsel's fee are made by the Court under Section 27 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 read with Article 227(3) of the Constitution and not under the Civil Procedure Code. It was on these premises that the Madhya Pradesh High Court held that the rule of that High Court requiring the filing of a fee certificate as a condition precedent for allowing counsel's fee did not apply to the trial of election petitions under the Act. Mr. R. S. Mittal has pointed out that whereas the relevant rule with which the Madhya Pradesh High Court was confronted had been framed for the guidance of Civil Courts and could not, therefore, be applied to Election Tribunals, Rule 16 of Chapter 6-I has not been framed for the guidance of the subordinate Courts but applies to all civil proceedings in the High Court as Vol. V in which the rule is contained deals with rules relating to proceedings in the High Court and has been made under the authority of the Constitution, the Letters Patent and the Acts of the Parliament. Mr. Librehan has next relied on the judgment of H. R. Sodhi, J. (as he then was) dated October 12, 1972 in election petition No. 26 of 1962(Punj) Shiv Chand v. Dana Ram wherein the learned Judge followed the dictum of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Shantilal's case (supra) and held in the relevant part of the order as below:--

'Where, however, the Judge deciding the election petition himself assesses the fee of the counsel in his order and also mentions the party from whom it is payable, no question of any further enquiry by the office arises and Rule 16 cannot override the specific provisions in the Act itself. I had, under Section 99(1)(b) fixed counsel's fee leaving the remaining costs to be worked out by the office according to rules and once costs have been fixed, the order fixing costs has to be executed in the manner provided by the Act, irrespective of the fact whether any certificate of fee has been filed or not.'

It was further observed by the learned Judge that the rule as contained in Chapter 6-I is not intended to apply to taxation of costs in an election petition.

5. Election Petition No. 2 of 1969(Punj.), Anokh Singh v. Surinder Singh was dismissed by a Division Bench of this Court (Mahajan, J. and myself) with costs. While taxing the costs to which Surinder Singh, the returned candidate was entitled, the office did not allow counsel's fee of Rupees one thousand which had been assessed in the judgment of the Division Bench as his costs on the ground that a fee certificate had not been filed before the commencement of arguments. It was at that stage that the returned candidate filed Civil Miscellaneous No. 109-E of 1973 praying for Rupees one thousand being paid to him out of the security for costs deposited by the election-petitioner. On hearing that application after a notice to the election petitioner, I held by my order dated January 20, 1972 that the election petition having been dismissed under Section 98(a) of the Act, the returned candidate was entitled as of right to be paid by the returned candidate was entitled as of right to be paid by the election petitioner the costs incurred by the returned candidate in contesting the petition on account of the mandatory requirements of the proviso to Section 119 of the Act which states that where a petition is dismissed under clause (a) of Section 98, the returned candidate 'shall be entitled to the costs incurred by him in contesting the petition and accordingly the High Court shall make an order for costs in favour of the returned candidate.' It was observed by me that the costs incurred by the returned candidate included the fee paid by him to his counsel and the only question which required consideration was whether the returned candidate did or did not, in fact, pay to his counsel the amount claimed by him or anything more than that. Mr. C.L. Lakhanpal Advocate who was appearing for the returned candidate in that case stated before me that in fact more than Rupees one thousand had been paid to him by his client. That statement was not contested by the other side. Mr. Lakhanpal also filed the requisite fee certificate during the course of arguments of that application. Though I did observe in that order that I was condoning the delay in filing the fee certificate, I directed on the basis of the above-mentioned observations that the balance of the amount of security deposited by the election petitioner should be paid to him after deducting the costs as already assessed including counsel's fee.

6. In Election Petition No. 31 of 1972 Hem Raj v. Ramji Lal etc., an application (Civil Miscellaneous No. 66-E of 1973 dated 22-2-1973)(Punj) was made on behalf of the returned candidate praying for the inclusion of counsel's fee in the Memo. of Costs consequent upon the dismissal of election petition despite no fee certificate having been filed by his counsel. Reliance was placed in the application on the judgment of Sodhi, J. in Shiv Chand's case Ele. Petn. No. 26 of 1962 D/- 12-10-1972(Punj)(supra). Mahajan, J. allowed the application by his order dated May 30, 1973 in the following words:--

'Allow counsel's fee as costs.'

Similarly in election petition No. 24 of 1972, Civil Miscellaneous No. 120-E of 1973 was filed on behalf of the returned candidate for allowing him counsel's fee as part of the costs awarded in his favour though no fee certificate had been filed by his counsel. After hearing counsel for both sides, Sarkaria, J. allowed the application by his order dated August 17, 1973 in the following words:--

'Counsel's fee be added to the Memo. of Costs and after deducting the costs the balance of the security be refunded to the petitioner. The costs inclusive of counsel's fee be paid to the respondent-applicant.'

7. In the present case also the factum of at least Rupees one thousand having been paid by the returned candidate to his counsel has not been contested. The application has been opposed only on the legal grounds, referred to above. The question--

'Whether a successful party in an election petition, particularly the returned candidate against whom an election petition has been dismissed under Section 98(a) of the Act, is entitled to have the fees paid by him to his counsel taxed in the Memo. of Costs payable to him by the other party, if costs have been ordered in his favour by the Court, but if no fee certificate has been filed by his counsel.'

is of important and has already arisen in several cases and is likely to arise again in substantial number of cases in future. In order to avoid any possible divergence of opinion on this question, I think it desirable that it should be decided more authoritatively by a larger Bench. I accordingly direct that these papers may be placed before my Lord the Chief Justice for constituting a Division Bench to decide the above-mentioned question of law. September 18, 1973.


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