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In Re: Babu Jnanendra Kumar Choudhury - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in65Ind.Cas.417
AppellantIn Re: Babu Jnanendra Kumar Choudhury
Excerpt:
legal practitioners act (xviii of 1879,), section 14 - vakalatnama, acceptance of--bona fide mistake of pleader--warning by court--subsequent proceedings for dismissal or suspension--rules of high court--pleaders, duty of. - .....reasons, which he stated in his letter, came to the conclusion that be was unable to support the learned munsif's recommendation for dismissal or suspension of the pleader in question he being of opinion that the warning given by the munsif by his first order in final disposal of the matter was sufficient.3. it appears that a rent-decree had been obtained against one isof khan and the holding in arrears had been sold by auction and purchased by the decree holders who were the 16 annas landlords. on the 19th of august 1920, the pleader accepted a vakalatnama purporting to be executed by isof khan, but presened to him by one rajani kanta ray who described himself as a 'brother by courtesy' of the judgment-debtor: and, in pursuance of that vakalatnama the decretal amount together with the.....
Judgment:

Lancelot Sanderson, C.J.

1. This is a reference which was made by the learned Munsif of Danton to the High Court, and it was submitted, as is the usual practice, through the District Judge. By the reference it was submitted that the conduct of the Pleader concerned justified an order of dismissal or suspension within the meaning of the Legal Practitioners Act.

2. The learned Judge who forwarded the reference, for the reasons, which he stated in his letter, came to the conclusion that be was unable to support the learned Munsif's recommendation for dismissal or suspension of the Pleader in question he being of opinion that the warning given by the Munsif by his first order in final disposal of the matter was sufficient.

3. It appears that a rent-decree had been obtained against one Isof Khan and the holding in arrears had been sold by auction and purchased by the decree holders who were the 16 annas landlords. On the 19th of August 1920, the Pleader accepted a vakalatnama purporting to be executed by Isof Khan, but presened to him by one Rajani Kanta Ray who described himself as a 'brother by courtesy' of the judgment-debtor: and, in pursuance of that vakalatnama the decretal amount together with the compensation was deposited on behalf of the judgment debtor by the Pleader on that day. On the 28th of August 1920, both the decree, holders and the judgment-debtor filed, petitions to the Court alleging that the deposit was not made by the judgment debtor: and upon enquiry, the learned Munsif came to the conclusion that in all probability the deposit had really been made on behalf of the mortgagee who was desirous of having the sale set aside; and, he held that an attempt was made to commit a flagrant abuse of the provisions of Section 174 of the Bengal Tenancy Act. The Pleader was called upon by the learned Munsif to submit an explanation, and his explanation was submitted on the 17th of September. I do not intend to read the explanation. I accept the explanation which has been made by the Pleader, and assume for the purpose of my judgment that the Pleader acted bona fide and thought that he had received a vakalatnama duly authorized by the judgment debtor and that he was entitled to act upon it. The learned Munsif considered this explanation but did not give his decision until the 8th of November 1920. This, to my mind, was an unreasonable delay I am quite aware that the vacation may have accounted for some part of the period between the 17th of September and the 18th of November, but it cannot account for more than about a month. This was a matter which was within a reasonably small compass: and, it was a matter in which the position and reputation of the Pleader were involved and which ought to have been disposed of promptly. In my judgment it was not fair to the Pleader to have the matter hanging over his head for at least two months, before the learned Munsif to deliver his judgment. However, on the 18th of November, the learned Munsif came to a conclusion and he said: 'Having regard to the explanation submitted by the Pleader concerned, Babu Jnanendra Kumar Choudhury, in which he pleads bona fide ignorance of the Rule on the subject of acceptance of vakalatnama and begs to be excused, and the circumstances of the case, the Pleader is excused but warned to be careful in future: so that any such case may not occur again,' In my judgment the Pleader was entitled to assume that having regard to that judgment given by the learned Munsif the matter was at an end. But it was not at an end. It appears that on the 19th of January 1921, the learned Munsif took up the matter again after a lapse of another two months, and then he expressed his view about the responsibilities resting on the Pleader with regard to the all important subject of acceptance of vakalatnama. He pointed cut that a grievous wrong was perpetuated in, the name of law and through the instrumentality of the Pleader, and came to the conclusion that the clemency which he had exercised was without jurisdiction and had been misexercised. Consequently he drew up these proceedings under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act.

4. As the learned Senior Government Pleader pointed out, there is no doubt that the learned Munsif had ample jurisdiction to make the first order which he made on the 18th November 1920. He obviously came to the conclusion on that occasion that he did not consider that the Pleader should either be suspended or dismissed and that the justice of the case would be met if a warning were administered to the learned Pleader. I do not intend to express any opinion as to whether the second order of the learned Munsif on the 19th of January 1921 was without jurisdiction or not, for the simple reason that it is not necessary for my judgment that I should do so. I can conceive cases where it would be necessary in the interests of justice for a Tribunal, however it may be composed, to withdraw the first order and make a further one. It is quite possible that further facts may come to the knowledge of the Tribunal which would justify it in investigating the matter further, but as I have said before, I do not express any opinion upon that point, It is quite sufficient to say that, in my opinion, having regard to the nature of the case, and having regard to the fact that the learned Munsif had come to the conclusion in November that the Pleader had been acting bona fide although he made a serious mistake; there was no necessity for the learned Munsif to take up the matter again, especially after a lapse of so long a time.

5. I have only one other matter to deal with before I leave this case. 1 endorse entirely what the learned Munsif has said with regard to the responsibilities of the learned Pleaders in accepting vakalatnamas. This is an instance which shows how necessary it is that the rules, which have been drawn up by the learned Judges of the High Court, should be strictly observed. Here was a case in which but for the interference of the judgment-debtor and the decree holders a very serious fraud might have been committed, not only upon the Court but by means of the Court upon private individuals. I hope that this will be an object lesson to the learned Junior Pleaders to make themselves fully acquainted with the rules of the High Court and also with the reason why those rules should be observed.

6. Having made these observations, I agree with the suggestion, which has been made by the learned District Judge, that this Reference ought not to be accepted.

Chotzner, J.

7. I agree.


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