Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.
1. The respondent is a first grade pleader practising at Markapur in the Kurnool district. He has been charged with professional misconduct in that he wrote a letter to the Governor of Madras, wilfully and maliciously making untrue statements reflecting on the District Munsiff of Markapur. The charge has been investigated by the District Judge of Kurnool and he has reported to this Court that it has been fully substantiated.
2. In the letter referred to the respondent accused the District Munsiff of being a sympathiser with the satyagraha, movement and that on the 28th February, 1941, he granted an application of an advocate for adjournment of a case made on the ground that he desired to go to Cumbum to see a friend offering satyagraha. He added:
I am the leader of the Bar here. I have put in 26 years in the profession. I may be permitted to submit, this sort of sympathy of a Judicial Officer, with the satyagraha movement which is working havoc in the country, is most oppressively shocking and unprecedented in the annals of judicial administration and should be nipped in the bud. Markapur is a most law abiding town. It has contributed comparatively the biggest amount of the District War Fund. The presence of such sympathetic officers may adversely affect in all possibility. I may also humbly submit that there are several instances when motions for adjournment on strongest conceivable grounds, e.g., deathed illness, official duty, etc., were refused by the same learned District Munsiff.
After a careful review of the evidence recorded in the course of the inquiry the District Judge came to the following conclusions: (1) the respondent's version of what happened in Court on the 28th February, 1941, was entirely false; (2) the allegation that the District Munsiff is a sympathiser with the satyagraha movement, was also devoid of truth; (3) the respondent had falsely posed as an enthusiastic supporter of the war effort in order to lend colour to an unwarranted attack on the District Munsiff; and (4) the action of the respondent was the result of animosity towards the District Munsiff because the District Munsiff had given decisions against him. In the words of the District Judge the respondent is a person who takes his forensic defeats badly. Mr. Govindarajachari, on behalf of the respondent, has very properly stated that the findings of fact cannot be challenged and consequently he has confined his address to the Court to two points. In the first place he says that the respondent's conduct is not unprofessional, but in the nature of contempt of Court. In the second place he says that there has been no accusation of dishonesty against the District Munsiff and the Court should deal leniently with the respondent.
3. With regard to the contention that the respondent's offence is more in the nature of contempt of Court than professional misconduct it has to be borne in mind that the letter which the respondent addressed to the Governor of the Province related to orders passed by the District Munsiff and the accusations were made by the respondent as '' the leader of the Bar at Markapur.' In these circumstances it is idle for the respondent to suggest that his misconduct should be regarded as being entirely dissociated from his status as a legal practitioner. In his professional capacity he has made a malicious and defamatory attack on a Judge and consequently we consider that he has been properly charged with professional misconduct. We should have thought that this was apparent without recourse to authority, but a decision of the Privy Council and two decisions of this Court have been quoted in the course of the arguments, and we think that we might refer to them. The first of these cases is In the Matter of Sashi Bhushan Sarbadhicary . An advocate of the Allahabad High Court had been suspended from practice for a period of four years because he had published an article in a periodical of which he was the editor. The article contained libellous statements in respect of a Judge before whom he had appeared on a particular occasion and against other Judges of the Court in their judicial capacity. The respondent in that case appealed to the Privy Council because he said that the Allahabad High Court had erred in holding him guilty of professional misconduct for what he had written in his capacity as the editor of the periodical. The Judicial Committee refused to accept this contention and dismissed his appeal. Their Lordships considered what constituted 'reasonable cause' for the suspension of an advocate from practice under the power conferred by the Letters Patent. They said that they would not attempt to give a definition of 'reasonable cause' or to lay down any rule for the interpretation of the Letters Patent in that respect because every case must depend on its own circumstances. But they added:
The Rules of the Court, to which reference has been made, indicate the precautions taken by the Court itself to secure that the powers shall not be used capriciously or oppressively, and there is no reason to apprehend that the just independence of the bar runs any risk of being impaired by its exercise. On the other hand, it is essential to the proper administration of justice that unwarrantable attacks should not be made with impunity upon Judges in their public capacity; and having regard to the fact that in this case a contempt of Court was undoubtedly committed (and, as the evidence shows, not for the first time) by an advocate in a matter concerning himself personally in his professional character, their Lordships agree with the conclusion at which the Judges of the High Court arrived, and that there was 'reasonable cause' for the order which they made.
In the present case the proceedings were instituted under Section 13 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 not under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent of this Court, but the position is the same. Section 13 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, also gives the High Court power to suspend or dismiss a pleader for 'reasonable cause'. The present case is even stronger against the respondent than the case which was carried to the Privy Council from the Allahabad High Court. The letter in respect of which the respondent in the present case is charged was written as 'the leader of the Bar at Markapur.'
4. In The District Judge of Kistna v. C. Hanumanulu I.L.R.(1915) Mad. 1045 (F.B.) a Full Bench of this Court suspended a pleader from practice because he had sworn and filed in Court an affidavit in which he made unjust aspersions, imputations and insinuations couched in insulting language charging a District Munsiff with rancour and prejudice against him and with a desire to injure him and to make common cause with his political opponents in the Bezwada Municipal Council. In re a Second Grade Pleader : (1928)55MLJ170 , another Full Bench of this Court suspended a pleader's sanad for having sworn a false affidavit in which he stated that he had seen a Magistrate receive a bribe.
5. There can be no doubt that the respondent is guilty of professional misconduct and this being the case all which remains to be considered is the penalty to be imposed. In the last mentioned case the pleader was suspended for one year and ten months, but the libel there was of a more serious nature than it is here because it contained a charge of bribery. At the same time the respondent's offence is not a light one. Learned Counsel for the respondent has, however, expressed on behalf of his client regret for the misconduct and has given an undertaking that the offence will not be repeated. In these circumstances we consider that it will be sufficient to order that the respondent's sanad be suspended until the end of 1942, and there will be an order accordingly.