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In Re: Mr. A. Seetharamiah, Second Grade Pleader, Practising in the District of Ganjam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1918)35MLJ650
AppellantIn Re: Mr. A. Seetharamiah, Second Grade Pleader, Practising in the District of Ganjam
Excerpt:
- .....him that is necessary between two solicitors even though they are acting for opposite parties. we think that the offence of which the respondent has been convicted is one which affects his character and the learned advocate-general has shown that this is certainly so according to hindu ideas.2. we think that in the circumstances we are bound to deal with him under the legal practitioners' act and we have carefully considered what the sentence should be. this is the first time that any such case has come before the court and it is possible that the pleader was not fully alive, as he ought to have been, to the gravity of his conduct. we think it is sufficient to direct in this case that he be suspended from practice for 6 months. but this is not to be regarded as a precedent in future.....
Judgment:

1. In this case the District Judge of Ganjam has reported to the High Court that the respondent has been convicted of keeping a common gaming house in Berhampore Town, an offence under Section 6 of the Towns Nuisances Act, III of 1889, and sentenced to a fine of Rs. 100. The District Judge has followed the procedure prescribed with regard to charges under Sections 13 and 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act by issuing a notice, framing a charge and hearing the respondent although strictly speaking, that procedure is not required in cases, such as this, which come under Section 12 of. the Act, Section 12 empowers the High Court to ' suspend or dismiss any pleader or muktear holding a certificate issued under Section 7 who is convicted for any criminal offence implying a defect in character which unfits him to be a pleader or muktear, as the case may be.' The decision of the Privy Council in In the matter of Rajendra Nath Mukherjee I.L.R. (1899) All. 49 shows that we are not now to re-try the case but that the question before us is whether the offence of which the respondent has been convicted implies a defect of character unfitting him to be a pleader. Now, the offence is that the respondent who is a pleader of more than 20 years standing and, according to his own showing a man of considerable property, used the office which he rented for his business as a common gaming house and was discovered there at night with a number of people of all ranks of society with cards, cowries and other gambling instruments. Lord Esher M. E. in In re Weare: In re the Solicitors Act, (1893) 2 Q. B. 439. which was a case of a solicitor who had been convicted of allowing houses belonging to him to be used as brothels indicated the considerations which ought to guide the court in those cases. He referred to the observations of Lord Mansfield in the earlier case of In re Brounsall (1778) 2 Cowp. 829 : 98 E.R. 1385.that it is necessary that members of all branches of the legal profession should stand free from all suspicion, and pointed out that the Court had not only to consider the solicitor's duties to his clients, but also whether his conduct was of such a personally disgraceful character that he ought not to remain a member of a strictly honourable profession, and that other members of that profession ought not to be called upon to enter into that intimate intercourse with him that is necessary between two solicitors even though they are acting for opposite parties. We think that the offence of which the respondent has been convicted is one which affects his character and the learned Advocate-General has shown that this is certainly so according to Hindu ideas.

2. We think that in the circumstances we are bound to deal with him under the Legal Practitioners' Act and we have carefully considered what the sentence should be. This is the first time that any such case has come before the Court and it is possible that the pleader was not fully alive, as he ought to have been, to the gravity of his conduct. We think it is sufficient to direct in this case that he be suspended from practice for 6 months. But this is not to be regarded as a precedent in future cases which may come before the Court. The respondent must also pay the costs of the day.


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