1. In this case a rule was issued by virtue of the powers vested in the Court under Section 12 of the Legal Practitioners Act (XVIII of 1879), calling upon Moulvi Abu Hossain Sarkar, a Pleader to show cause why he should not be suspended or dismissed from practice, on the ground that the fact that he had been convicted in two cases under Section 21 of Ordinance II of 1932, for disobeying the order of the District Magistrate of Rungpur, and had been sentenced there under to rigorous imprisonment for one year, and two years respectively, and that he had been previously convicted in June, 1930, under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, implied a defect of character which unfitted him to be a Pleader.
2. One of the convictions in 1932 was set a side on appeal. This Pleader, therefore, has been convicted twice, within the last three years of what amounted to semi-political offences. The conviction under Section 21 of Ordinance of 1932 was for leaving the village where he had been ordered to reside. Such an order can only be made if the Local Government is satisfied, under Section 4 of the Ordinance, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the person to be restrained has acted, is acting, or is about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety or peace or in furtherance of a movement prejudicial to the public safety or peace. The conviction in 1930 was for holding a public meeting in defiance of an order of the Local Government, or the Police, prohibiting such a meeting.
3. In all these cases the question arises whether the facts proved, constitute an offence implying a defect of character which unfits the pleader or Makhtear, as the case made be, from practising as such.
4. The question is not free from difficulty. As Was stated by Coutts Trotter, J: In the matter of First Grade Pleader 92 Ind. Cas. 214 : (1924) M.W.N. 5: A.I.R. 1921 Mad. 479 : 27 cr. L.J. 230 (F.B.).
while this Court will not interfere with or has regard to any man's political opinions, or opinions on public questions, it is impossible to allow a person, who proclaims or practises what is called the doctrine of Civil Disobedience, to ask to be part of the machinery of the Courts which exist for the very purpose of the thwarting of civil disobedience and the enforcement of civil obedience.
5. It is difficult to draw any distinction between the various kinds of law breaking upon which any general principle can be founded. One can imagine cases where the law has been broken en one or more occasions, as for example, with regard to offences under Motor Car Legislation. These obviously strike one as being different in gravity to offences, such as we are now dealing with, of a semi-political character, which are directed against laws or Ordinances passed for the purposes of preserving the public peace.
6. On the other hand it may be argued that even offences under Motor Oar Legislation may result in breaches of the peace. In my opinion, therefore, no such distinction can be drawn, and the principle upon which we ought to proceed is, that where a Pleader wilfully breaks the law upon one or two isolated occasions it may not be necessary for the Court to take any action under this section of the Legal Practitioners Act. Where on the other hand, it is shown that the Pleader has wilfully arid habitually broken the law, then the Court may quite reasonably come to the conclusion that his acts imply such a defect of character as to render him unfit for practice as a Pleader, and in such a case the Court may dismiss him from practice. Where the acts of the Pleader fall midway between the two extremes, then the Court may take a more lenient view, and may think it sufficient to warn the Pleader, by inflicting upon him a period of suspension or otherwise that if he persists in breaking or defying the law such conduct will inevitably lead the Court to the conclusion that he is totally unfit to practise in the couits which have been established to enforce the law.
7. In the presence case, it seems to us that the Pleader's acts fall within the mediate position to which I have referred. He has been, prosecuted three times and convicted twice for semi-political offences, and we desire to warn him, that if he persists in these courses, the Court will eventually hive to consider the question of dismissing him from practice. We should have though that a period of six months suspension would be adequate in this case. But we are informed that the Pleader was in fact suspended from practice owing to his inability to obtain a license from February 15,1933, to August 25, 1933, a period of a little over six months. Consequently we think that he has been punished sufficiently and the rule, accordingly, will be discharged.
M.C. Ghose, J