Charles Arnold White, Kt., C.J.
1. In this case certain charges of misconduct were preferred under the legal Practitioners Act, 1879, against one Kona Thimma Reddi, a Second Grade Pleader of Gooty.
2. The matter came before us on a report by the District Judge under Section 14 of the Act.
3. Before this Court the pleader was called upon to answer the charges:
(1) A charge of trading in the name of his minor son for his own benefit.
(2) A charge founded upon an order made by the Deputy Magistrate, Gooty, directing the pleader to furnish security under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
3. As regards the 3rd charge the order to furnish security was set aside by the District Magistrate. In these circumstances I an not prepared to say that any case of misconduct has been made out against the pleader in respect of this charge.
4. As regards the 2nd charge, I am of opinion that the evidence does not establish that the circumstances connected with the institution and conduct of the criminal cases were such as to furnish grounds for dealing with the certificate of the pleader.
5. With reference to the 1st charge. Rule 27 of the rules under the Legal Practitioners Act is as follows:
If any person, having been admitted as a pleader, accepts any appointment under Government, becomes any student of any school or college for the purpose of pursuing his studies or enters into any trade or other business, or accepts employment as a law agent other than a Pleader, Mukhtar or agent certified under Act XVII of 1879 and these rules, he shall give immediate notice thereof to the High Court who may thereupon suspend such pleader from practice or pass such orders as the said court may think fit.' The pleader did not give notice to the High Court that he had entered into a trade or business. In order to avoid the necessity of further local enquiries with reference to this charge, Mr. Govindaragava Iyer, who appeared for the pleader, consented to furnish particulars of transactions which his client had entered into, and these particulars were duly furnished. The defence put forward on behalf of the pleader was two-fold : (1) That the transactions were not carried on by him for his own benefit but for the benefit of his minor son and out of the moneys belonging to the son (2) The transactions did not constitute the entering into a trade or business. The transactions consisted of loans of money in small amounts. The substance of one of the bonds taken by the pleader as security for an advance is set out in the plaint in a suit brought by him (O.S. No. 636 of 1908 on the file of the Gooty District Munsif's Court). It is as follows : 'The defendant having taken Rs. 24 from the plaintiff on the 27th May 1907, executed a bond fur Rs. 24 in favour of the plaintiff in the village of Gooty stipulating to deliver on the Palgunasuddha, 15th of the year Plavanga (17th March 1908,) maunds of cotton for Rs. 8, failing so to deliver, to pay the price at Rs. 2 per maund, to pay the balance of Rs. 16 with interest thereon on the aforesaid due date and failing to do so, to deliver cotton at the rate of I maund per rupee and in case of failure to do so to pay the price at Rs. 2 per maund.
6. It appears from the particulars furnished on behalf of the pleader that in the great majority of cases, his advances were secured by bonds containing terms similar to those set out above. I find it impossible to accept the statement that these transactions were entered into by the pleader on behalf of his minor son and out of his son's moneys. If the pleader, as he wants us to believe, was acting as his son's trustee or guardian, the transactions were altogether improper. They were certainly of a speculative character since the result might be dependent on the price of cotton several months after. The bonds, as it seems to me, were usurious and oppressive. I feel no doubt that the son's name was held as a screen. Even if the pleader conducted these transactions as guardian it might none the less amount to the entering into a trade or business within the meaning of the rule. As regards this part of the case, it is enough to say that, in my opinion, the defence that the transactions were not entered into by the pleader on his own behalf entirely fails.
7. As regards the contention that the transactions do not constitute a trade or business, it would seem from the particulars (according to the summary given by Mr. Rungachariar who appeared on behalf the Pleadership Examination Board) that in 1906, 14 transactions in the name of the Pleader's son and 2 in his own, took place; in 1907, 57 transactions in his son's name and 14 in his own, and in 1908, 14 transactions in his son's name and 25 in his own, and that in 1907 the total amount of cotton which the borrowers agreed to deliver in satisfaction of the advances made to them was over 1,000 mauuds.
8. The money-lending transactions were numerous, continuous and systematic and I feel no doubt that the, pleader entered into a trade or business within the meaning of the rule.
9. The breach of the rule, of course, consists in not giving notice to the High Court, and if the pleader had dealt candidly with the court and had not attempted to justify his conduct, I should have been disposed to take a lenient view of the case. But, I do not believe his statement that he carried on the transactions on behalf of his son, and the fact that he has put forward this statement, to my mind indicates that he was conscious of the impropriety of his conduct. I think we are entitled to take into consideration the nature of the money-lending transactions which, in my opinion, as I have already stated, were usurious and oppressive.
10. There is now no question as to our jurisdiction to deal with a case of this sort - see the order of the High Court dated 19th April, 1910, in the matter of the Second Grade Pleaders Choragudi Venkatadri Panthulu Garu and Oruganu Venkata Subba Row Pantulu Garu : (1910)20MLJ500 and I am of opinion that there is reasonable cause for an order of suspension or dismissal.
11. The order we make is that Kone Thimma Reddi, a Second Grade Pleader, be suspended from practice till the end of the year and that his certificate be not renewed until he satisfies this Court that his outstanding money-lending transactions are closed and that he has ceased to carry on business as a money-lender.
Krishnaswami Aiyar, J.
12. I agree.
13. I agree.