1. This Reference has been made to the Court under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act by the District Magistrate of Berhampur through the Sessions Judge of that District against one Purna Chandra Chatterji, a Mukhtear of that District. The District Magistrate, in a proceeding, attached to his letter making the Reference, has come to the conclusion that Purna Chandra Chatterji is guilty of grossly improper conduct in his professional capacity on the following facts: It appears that one Umesh Chandra Ghosh had been convicted and sentenced by one of the Criminal Courts at Jangipur in the District of Murshidabad. He wished to appeal and his maternal uncle took to him in the District Jail a written vakalatnamah for the purpose of engaging certain Pleaders to conduct the appeal. This vakalatnamah was executed by the prisoner affixing his mark in the presence of one of the Jail officers and was handed over to his maternal uncle. This person appears to have undertaken to arrange for conducting the appeal before the District Magistrate. The uncle's name is Gopal Chandra Ghosh. He appears to have come to Berhampur and from his affidavit it appears that he went to Purna Chandra Chatterji, the Mukhtear, whose conduct is the subject of reference. The Mukhtear took instructions from him but informed him that he could not appear to argue the appeal as his name was not included in the vikalatnamah. Afterwards in accordance with the request of Gopal Chandra Ghosh, he added to the names, that were given in the vakalatnamah, his own name and the names of other Mukhtears and also altered certain words in the body of the vakalatnamah. The appeal was finally argued and the appellant was acquitted. Afterwards, proceedings were taken against Purna Chandra Chatterji by the District Magistrate under the Legal Practitioners Act. But from the papers that have been submitted to us, it is not very clear how these proceedings were originated. It would, however, appear that the attention of the District Magistrate was directed to the vakalatnamah and that he asked for some explanations from Purna Chandra Chatterji. At the same time, it appears from the examination of Purna Chandra Chatterji, as recorded by the District Magistrate, that he was told that he was not obliged to explain how the alteration took, place. In consequence. Purna Chandra Chatterji at the time said nothing about it. The proceedings under the Act appear then to have been taken by the District Magistrate. The District Magistrate, in making the reference to this Court, has held that the conduct of Purna Chandra Chatterji was grossly improper, because he made the alteration in the vakalatnamah and because those alterations were not authorised by the person who executed the vakalatnamah. In the defence of Purna Chandra Chatterji before us, it has been argued by the learned Counsel that although the alteration was admittedly made by Purna Chandra Chatterji, it was not made with any improper motive so as to amount to grossly improper conduct within the meaning of section, 14 of the Act. We have been referred to the affidavit sworn by the uncle of the accused who was the person who went to Purna Chandra Chatterji in order to instruct him to conduct the appeal and from that it would appear that the addition of names and the alteration were made by Purna Chandra Chatterji in the vakalatnamah at the request of the person. It seems that he pointed out to him that he could not appear to argue the appeal unless the vakalatnamah contained his name and that thereupon at the request of this person, Purna Chandra Chatterji added the names to the vakalatnamah. The question is whether in such circumstances, the conduct of Purna Chandra Chatterji is such as to call for punishment under the provisions of Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act or in fact to amount to grossly improper conduct as contemplated by that section. We are of opinion that on the facts stated, it can hardly be held that the conduct attributed to Purna Chandra Chatterji amounted to grossly improper conduct. No doubt, he was wrong in making the alteration in the vakalatnamah. But, as it appears from the facts stated before us that the alteration was made at the request of the person who appeared to represent the individual who had executed the vakalatnamah, we think that it cannot be said that in making the alteration Purna Chandra Chatterji was actuated by any improper motive which would constitute under the provisions of the section grossly improper conduct.
2. We may observe that there appears at the time when these proceedings were instituted to have been some friction between the District Magistrate and the members of the Muktear's Association at Berhampur and in connection with that and with the present case, an apology was made by Purna Chandra Chatterji to the District Magistrate. In that apology, Purna Chandra Chatterji expressed his regret for what he had done in connection with the vakalatnamah. In the circumstances, we think that, though the conduct of Purna Chandra Chatterji was certainly improper in making the alteration in the vakalatnamah, the apology may be accepted.
3. We, therefore, see no reason on this Reference to pass any order under Section 14 of the Legal Practitioners Act against Purna Chandra Chatterji, holding as we do that the conduct which formed the subject of the reference is not such as to bring him within the purview of that section of the Act.