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In Re: Sri C.S. Venkatachariar, First Grade Pleader and Sri R. Sivaramakrishna Deekshathar, Second Grade Pleader - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1942Mad691; (1942)2MLJ479
AppellantIn Re: Sri C.S. Venkatachariar, First Grade Pleader and Sri R. Sivaramakrishna Deekshathar, Second G
Cases ReferredThein Nyiin v. District Superintendent of Police
Excerpt:
- - 6. after adopting an obstructive attitude the complainant failed to appear at the hearing of the case against him......practising in that court, is also guilty of professional misconduct. charges were framed by the district munsiff of chidambaram, against both the respondent and the complainant. the district munsiff has presented a report to the effect that the respondent is not guilty of the charges framed against him, but that the complainant is. this report is concurred in by the district judge of south arcot. the district munsiff considered that the conduct of the complainant had been such as to warrant the cancellation of his sanad. the district judge considered, however, that suspension for three years would be a fitting penalty.2. s. nataraja aiyar, the complainant's son, is married to one jayalakshmi animal and the marriage has proved to be an unhappy one. on the 14th august, 1939, on the.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. This case presents some unusual features. The Court is called upon in the first place to consider whether the respondent, Mr. C. S. Venkatachariar, a pleader practising in the Court of the District Munsiff of Chidambaram, has been guilty of professional misconduct. In the second place, it is called upon to decide whether the person who lodged the complaint against him, Mr. R. Sivaramakrishna Deekshathar, another pleader practising in that Court, is also guilty of professional misconduct. Charges were framed by the District Munsiff of Chidambaram, against both the respondent and the complainant. The District Munsiff has presented a report to the effect that the respondent is not guilty of the charges framed against him, but that the complainant is. This report is concurred in by the District Judge of South Arcot. The District Munsiff considered that the conduct of the complainant had been such as to warrant the cancellation of his sanad. The District Judge considered, however, that suspension for three years would be a fitting penalty.

2. S. Nataraja Aiyar, the complainant's son, is married to one Jayalakshmi Animal and the marriage has proved to be an unhappy one. On the 14th August, 1939, on the instructions of Jayalakshmi Ammal, a pleader wrote to her husband demanding the payment of Rs. 15 per month for her maintenance. This demand was not complied with and the wife then instituted proceedings under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On the 1st November, 1939, the Magistrate ordered the husband to pay to his wife Us. 5 per month. In those proceedings the complainant, in his professional capacity, represented his son. The passing of this order was followed by the institution of a suit by the husband in the Court of the District Munsiff of Chidambaram for a decree setting aside the order on the ground that the wife had committed adultery. The complainant, again acting in his professional capacity, appeared on behalf of his son and gave evidence in support of his son's case. In fact he was the only witness in the case. Why the complainant gave evidence on behalf of his son in a case in which he was appearing in his professional capacity has not been explained. A person who is-appearing as counsel should not give evidence as, a witness. If in the course of the proceedings it is discovered that he is in a position to give evidence and it is desirable that he should do so, his proper course is to retire from the case in his professional capacity. The charges framed against the complainant have, however, nothing to do with this incident and there is no need to discuss it further.

3. On the 20th January,, 1941, the husband's suit was dismissed, but on the 27th February, he applied for a review of the District Munsiff's judgment. This application was dismissed by an order, dated the 8th March. A month before, the complainant had filed a petition in the District Munsiff's Court charging the respondent with professional misconduct in that he had misled the Court and had tutored his client to give false evidence in the suit. On the 10th February the complainant filed a second petition in which he charged the respondent with a further act of professional misconduct. On this occasion the charge was that the respondent had filed a certificate in which he stated that he had received his fee, whereas he had not.

4. In affidavits filed in denial of the charges made against him, the respondent alleged that the complainant had intimated that he would drop the complaints of professional misconduct if he would pay a sum, of Rs. 75 and that he would be prepared to accept even less than this amount if the respondent, did not oppose the application for a review of the judgment dismissing the suit filed by the complainant's son for a decree setting aside the order passed against him under Section 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This allegation of the respondent was supported by the affidavits of four other pleaders practising in the Court. They testified to the fact that the complainant had made these proposals and that the respondent had refused to entertain them. In this state of affairs the District Munsiff framed four charges against the respondent of having made misrepresentations to the Court with regard to certain Exhibits in the case and a fifth charge of having tutored his client to give false evidence. There was a sixth charge, but this was merely a charge of professional misconduct based on the other charges. Against the complainant the District Munsiff framed three charges. The first was that he demanded money from the respondent 'as consideration for not presenting or representing or pressing'' the petition which he had presented against the respondent in connection with the alleged false certificate. The second charge was that as additional consideration for not pressing the petition against the respondent he should not oppose the application for review. The third charge was a general charge of professional misconduct, again apparently based on the earlier charges.

5. It is difficult to understand why the District Munsiff framed charges, of misrepresentation against the respondent. The misrepresentations which were alleged to have been made were made in open Court in respect of documents before the Court and the facts were all within the knowledge of the District Munsiff. He has stated in his report that he was not misled; by the respondent. The report also shows that the charge against the respondent of having tutored his client to give false evidence is equally groundless. We have no hesitation in accepting the report of the District Munsiff that the respondent is not guilty of any; of the charges brought against him in this case, and therefore the charges against him will be dismissed.

6. After adopting an obstructive attitude the complainant failed to appear at the hearing of the case against him. He had been given far more latitude in the matter of adjournments than he should have been given, and the fact that he did not attempt to refute the allegations made against him in itself points to the truth of the testimony of the witnesses who were called to prove the charges. The four pleaders who had sworn affidavits all gave evidence, and we agree with the District Munsiff that there is no reason to disbelieve them. They are practitioners of standing. In fact the complainant, who has appeared in person before us, has not suggested that their evidence is in any respect untrue. He has confined himself to the contention that the District Munsiff had no jurisdiction to frame charges against him or to hold an inquiry. He states that unless a charge is made by a person concerned, a Court subordinate to the High Court has no power to frame a charge against a practitioner. The framing of the charge, he says, must be directed by the High Court in the absence of a formal petition to a Subordinate Court. The contention ignores the plain wording of Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners' Act. The complainant has, however, insisted that the decision of the Rangoon High Court in In the matter of S., a Lower Grade Pleader, Pyapon, A.I.R. 1936 Rang. 189. assists him. An examination of the judgment in that case shows that the complainant has misunderstood it. There the District Judge of Pyapon. framed a charge of professional misconduct against a practitioner because, while practising as a pleader, he was carrying on the business as a taxi-cab owner. The Rangoon High Court held that the District Judge had no right to frame the charge as the matter did not arise in Court, and the charge concerned something which the respondent was doing outside the Court. In delivering the judgment Page, C.J., referred to the decision of the Rangoon High Court in U Thein Nyiin v. District Superintendent of Police, Maubin I.L.R. (1935) Rang. 737., where it was held that, if in the course of a proceeding a subordinate Court had reason to think that a pleader had committed misconduct in the course of his professional duty, the presiding officer of the Court can under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners' Act institute proceedings against him : and inquire into the alleged misconduct. That this is so is really not open to question.

7. The complainant then says that, in any event, the District Munsiff had no right to hold the inquiry against him because he might have been a witness in the charge against the respondent. He was not a witness, nor could he have been a witness. He was lawfully holding an inquiry into' the complainant's conduct and therefore he was entitled to take into consideration what had transpired before him in the course of the suit filed by the complainant's son.

8. We consider that the charges against the complainant have been fully proved and as he has shown himself to, be unworthy of remaining a member of the legal profession, his sanad will be cancelled.


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