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In Re: Babu Poorna Chandra Addy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in32Ind.Cas.657
AppellantIn Re: Babu Poorna Chandra Addy
Cases ReferredTarucknath Mookerjee v. Collector of Hooghly
Excerpt:
legal practitioners act (xviii of 1879), sections 13, clause (b) 14 - professional misconduct of pleader--act done as suitor--error of law, effect of--reference, legality of--bench and bar amity between, necessity of--anonymous communications to court, impropriety of. - .....the execution was lost for no default of the decree-holders. they were naturally annoyed and took legal advice ass to whether they could recover damages from the munsif. it is said that they were advised that such a case would lie, their advisers relying on the case of tarucknath mookerjee v. collector of hooghly 13 w.r. 13; 4 b.l.r.a.c.37. mohesh insisted upon fighting out the case and a notice was given to the munsif signed by mohesh but written out by babu purna chandra to the following effect: 'we hays by your illegal and unwarrantable conduct as aforesaid suffered a loss of rs. 7-7-0, being the amount of costs incurred as specified below....i here by give you notice, that both the aforesaid babu purna chandra addy and myself shall adopt legal proceedings against you for the said.....
Judgment:

D. Chatterjee, J.

1. Babu Purna Chandra Addy is a Pleader practising in the Court at Puri. He and his cousin Mohesh had an execution case before the second Munsif of Puri. On the date fixed for sale the decree-holders found out that the sale proclamation had not been duly published. They applied for the issue of a fresh sale proclamation on the ground that the non-publication was due to the negligence of the Court officers. If the facts were as stated above, the most proper and just course for the learned Munsif would have been to grant the application. He rejected it, however, and struck off the case and the whole cost of the execution was lost for no default of the decree-holders. They were naturally annoyed and took legal advice ass to whether they could recover damages from the Munsif. It is said that they were advised that such a case would lie, their advisers relying on the case of Tarucknath Mookerjee v. Collector of Hooghly 13 W.R. 13; 4 B.L.R.A.C.37. Mohesh insisted upon fighting out the case and a notice was given to the Munsif signed by Mohesh but written out by Babu Purna Chandra to the following effect: 'We hays by your illegal and unwarrantable conduct as aforesaid suffered a loss of Rs. 7-7-0, being the amount of costs incurred as specified below....I here by give you notice, that both the aforesaid Babu Purna Chandra Addy and myself shall adopt legal proceedings against you for the said sum.' The learned Munsif made a report to the District Judge of Cuttack and the said officer instituted proceedings under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act against Babu Purna Chandra for grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duty, inasmuch as the letter of notice was in his handwriting and must have been written with his knowledge and by his advice and inasmuch as he knew that no such suit would lie, his action in writing it and allowing it to be signed by Mohesh was not bona fide and was dictated by a desire to harass the Munsif. Babu Purna Chandra in showing cause said that the notice was given under legal advice without any intention of harassing the learned Munsif and even if the advice was wrong, he had acted bona fide as a litigant in the exercise of his legal rights and not as a Pleader acting for a client and no charge of professional misconduct, could lie.

2. The learned Judge asked him to apologize, but he chose to stand upon his legal rights and did not. The learned Judge has, therefore, made this reference under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act, holding that the Pleader was guilty of grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duty.

3. It is contended before us that the reference is incompetent and should be discharged.

4. I think that this contention is right. What was done in this case was done 'by an individual in the capacity of a suitor in respect of his supposed rights as a suitor and of an imaginary injury done to him as a suitor and it had no connection whatever with his professional character, or anything done by him professionally'. See In re Wallace (1866) 1 P.C. 283; 4 Moore P.C. (N. s.) 140; 36 L.J.P.C. 9; 15 W.R. 533; 16 E.R. 269, In the matter of Jogendra Narayan Bose 5 C.W.N. 48, In re a Pleader 18 M.L.J. 184; 3 M.L.T. 237; 1 Cr. L.J. 333, In the matter of a first grade Pleader 24 M. 17, The learned Senior Government Pleader, who appeared in this case on notice from the Court, did not support the reference as one warranted by clause: (b) of Section 13, but he said that the language used was intemperate and as the leader did not accept the invitation of the Judge to make an apology he deserved some censure by this Court. The language was perhaps a little harsh but it was the language of a litigant smarting from what he considered a wilful disregard of his just rights merely for the sake of administrative despatch when the greater part of the fault was not with him but with the office of the Court. Then, again, the part he took in helping his co-litigant to give the notice was an insignificant one: he merely copied the letter and refrained from joining openly in the assertion of what he was advised was his legal right. It is admitted by his learned Vakil that the advice was wrong, and in the absence of malice his client had no right to maintain a suit for damages for a judicial act, but that does not take the case further than this that he and his advisers committed an error of law. No doubt the error was rather serious in this case, as it led to a breach of that amity and mutual understanding which should always exist between the Bench and the Bar. Justice to the litigant is the end for which the Bench and the Bar are the means and the powers of the one and the privileges of the other are ordained for the attainment of that end by their harmonious co-operation. It is to be regretted, therefore, that there was a discord in this case. The error, however, was nevertheless an error of law which cannot be treated as professional misconduct. See In the matter of a Sarat Chandra Guha 4 C.W.N. 663. He has, however, in this Court through his Vakil expressed his regret for what has happened and there is an end of the matter.

5. I may in this connection mention that while the case was awaiting judgment I received a type-written envelope posted at Puri and enclosing some newspaper cuttings containing aspersions against the Munsif concerned in this case. Babu Purna Chandra through his Vakil disowns all knowledge of this and expresses his regret that anybody should have done it. I accept his statement and hold him blameless in the matter. I think it my duty, however, to say that whoever may be responsible for the sending of these cuttings in an anonymous cover with a type-written superscription which cannot be identified is guilty of a gross contempt of Court. It is an attempt to interfere with the due administration of justice; it is unfair to the party for whose benefit it is done; it is unfair to the party slandered who has no means of meeting it and it is unfair to the Court which might, humanly speaking, be unconsciously influenced without being able to deal with the perpetrator in due course of law. Conduct like this is cowardly, ungentlemanly and in the highest degree reprehensible and I hope no one connected with the Puri Bar had any hand in it.

6. In this view of the case, I discharge the Rule.

Beachcroft, J.

7. I agree that the reference ought to be discharged on the ground that the case is not one within Section 13(b) of the Legal Practitioners Act. I am, however, sceptical of the truth of the Pleader's allegation that he took and acted on other legal advice in sending the objectionable letter to the Munsif. But even if it be assumed that it was sent with the intention of annoying the Munsif, I do not think it necessary to take any further notice of the matter.

8. We have no explanation from the Munsif as to why he rejected the prayer for issuing a fresh sale proclamation in the execution proceedings, but on the facts stated his orders dismissing the execution case appear to be wholly indefensible. The Munsif ought to have been thankful to the decree-holders for bringing to his notice the defect in the execution proceedings, and incidentally in the working of his office, instead of penalizing them for it. Human nature being what it is, one must not view the action of the Pleader too seriously. Having had time for reflection he would have been well advised to accept the suggestion of the learned District Judge and offer an apology to the Munsif. I am not impressed by the offer of an apology in this Court at the eleventh hour when the Pleader felt that he might get into trouble. But in the circumstances the matter may now be allowed to rest.

9. I associate myself with the strictures of my learned brother on the sending of anonymous communications.


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