Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.
1. Mr. N. Gopala Aiyar, a pleader practising in the Court of the District Munsiff of Mannargudi, has been charged with professional misconduct and the District Judge of West Tanjore has submitted to this Court his report on the inquiry. The charge against the respondent was that he wrote to one Ramachandra Aiyar, a Vakil's clerk at Tanjore, to obtain surreptitiously a copy of the judgment in S.C.S. No. 541 of 1925 on the file of the District Munsiff's Court, Mannargudi, by offering some inducement or bribe to the Record Clerk of the District Court. The learned District Judge has held the charge to be proved, but in the circumstances of the case has suggested that a suspension for a period of two or three months or a severe warning would meet the case.
2. The letter on which the complaint was based reads as follows:
Plaintiff's witness, K. Sambasiva Aiyar (Ettakudi Sambu). In the judgment of the above suit, it has been said that Sambu has given false evidence and that he is not honest. So the judgment in the said S.C. No. 541 of 1925 is necessarily required. Sambu has been committed to the Court of Session, Tanjore. The case is posted for hearing on 31st August, 1936, in the Court of the Assistant Sessions Judge. Can we get the above judgment? Give something to the record clerk and ascertain. If you write to me that the above judgment can be got, I shall at once send there Sakti Ammal with money for expenses. Please write a reply to me regarding the above judgment before the coming Tuesday or Wednesday. Let no one know that I have written this letter. Please at once make enquiries in Court and write a reply to me.
3. We are unable to read this letter as meaning that the respondent was intending to obtain a copy of the judgment referred to surreptitiously. But it certainly does contain instructions to a vakil's clerk to give to the record clerk a bribe for supplying information with regard to the record. For a member of the Bar to suggest that an official or any one should be bribed amounts to professional misconduct and professional misconduct of a grave nature. The fact that bribes of this nature have been given by others is no excuse. In this case the learned District Judge has suggested that a lenient view should be taken because the respondent has been a member of the legal profession for 25 years and has hitherto held an unblemished record. We will accept this recommendation of the learned District Judge and in view of the past record of the respondent we will not impose the penalty which the offence deserves. We consider that in this case a suspension from practice from now until the end of January, 1938, will be sufficient, and the respondent will be suspended for this period. But we wish it to be clearly understood that we regard offences of this nature as being grave offences and in future the punishment will be made to fit the offence. I will add that the fact that proceedings of this nature are instituted as the result of a grudge - as appears to be the case here - makes no difference to the gravity of the offences and cannot be pleaded in excuse.