Venkatasubba Rao, Officiating C.J.
1. It is unnecessary to consider whether the learned Judge has followed the correct procedure as laid down in Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act. The pleader in question claimed to retain his client's papers on the ground that a part of his fees was not paid. The learned Judge does not give a finding whether any portion of the fee was still due, but throughout the discussion, he seems to assume that the pleader's allegation is true. There is a clear finding that the other allegations of misconduct made against the pleader are exaggerated, if not baseless. The only question then is, can it be said that the pleader was guilty of professional misconduct on the ground that he refused to part with the papers? I do not propose to decide finally whether a legal practitioner in India has the right of possessory lien. In Rajah Muthu Krishna v. Nurse : AIR1921Mad320 Wallis, C.J., in the following sentence assumes that he has such a lien:
They can insist on payment of their fees in advance or rely on their lien on the client's papers and on the fruits of the litigation as well as on their right to sue for their fees.
2. If this correctly expresses the law on the point, it is obvious that the petitioner was entitled to insist on the payment of his fee before parting with the papers. In Ghulam Mohideen Sahib v. Md. Oomer Sahib (1930) 60 M.L.J. 133, I held that an Attorney has what is known as a paticular lien on the fruits of a judgment recovered by his exertions. In Krishnamachariar v. The Official Assignee of Madras (1931) 62 M.L.J. 185 a Bench of this Court held that this privilege does not extend to an Advocate. The lien claimed in the present action is the possessory and not the particular lien. It is unnecessary for me to pronounce finally on the point, but it is perfectly clear that having regard to the state of the law, it is impossible to hold that the petitioner acted wrongly in claiming to retain the papers. I am therefore of the opinion that the lower Court's view that the petitioner was guilty of professional misconduct, is wrong and the finding to that effect is vacated.
3. The petitioner's counsel does not complain against the lower Court's order in so far as it directs the return of the record.
4. In the circumstances I make no order as to costs.