Chouraria Vs. M.R. Murli & Anr  Insc 283 (16 April 2004)
S.B. Sinha & S.H. Kapadia.
S.B. SINHA, J:
order of the Bar Council of India dated 27.2.1999 passed in BCI TR No.73/1997
refusing to enquire into a complaint of purported misconduct on the part of the
respondent herein is in question in this appeal preferred by the Appellant
herein under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
relationship between the appellant and the respondents herein is that of
landlords and tenant. A rent control proceeding was initiated by the
respondents against the appellant. While the rent control proceeding was
pending in the small causes court, they allegedly misconducted themselves by
reason of following acts of omissions and commissions:-
8.10.1993 when the appellant came out of the court hall of the said court after
attending the appeal pending there, the first respondent allegedly came from
behind and hit him on his back and ran away.
26.10.1993 while the appellant was coming out of the court hall, the first
respondent accompanied with some rowdy elements threatened to kill him. The
matter was allegedly reported to the police on the same day.
1.3.1995 when the learned Xth Judge left for his chamber during the lunch break
and while the appellant was leaving the court hall along with his advocate Shri
S.Vijayranjan, the first respondent kicked him on the knee of his left leg in
the court room with an intention to cause injury and further asked him not to
appear in the court for evidence.
disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu upon receipt of the
said complaint of the appellant herein initiated a proceeding. The matter
ultimately appeared to have been transferred to the disciplinary committee of
the Bar Council of India.
Order of the Bar Council:
disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India noticed that in relation to
the aforementioned acts of omission and commission on the part of the respondents,
no criminal proceeding was initiated by filing a complaint petition by the
appellant. No charge-sheet had also been filed by the police in relation to the
occurrence dated 26.10.1993 wherefor an FIR had been lodged. It was further
accepted that the first respondent had not been appearing in the aforementioned
rent control proceedings as an advocate but as a party in person. Having regard
to the fact that till the date of passing of the impugned order neither the
appellant herein produced any document to substantiate any follow up action on
his part in respect of complaint filed by him before the police authority, nor
did he file any private complaint, the committee was prime facie of the view
that the factum of occurrence of the said incidents are not reliable.
it was noticed that the first respondent appeared in the said litigation not as
advocate but as litigant in person.
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, inter alia, would submit
that under Section 35 of the Advocates Act an advocate on the roll of the Bar
Council can be proceeded against for committing any misconduct which may not be
confined to professional misconduct; the Bar Council grossly erred in passing
the impugned order. Strong reliance in support of the said contention has been
placed on a decision of this court in D An Advocate of the Supreme Court
reported in [1955 (2) SCR 1006]. The learned counsel would contend that having
regard to the fact that the first respondent assaulted the complainant, asked
him not to proceed with the case and on the third occasion kicked him as a
result whereof he fell down are clear pointers to the fact that such acts are
not expected of a member of a legal profession and, thus, the same must be held
to be acts of misconduct.
counsel in support of said contention relied upon Hikmat Ali Khan V. Ishwar
Prasad Arya and Ors.[ 1997 (3) SCC 131] and N.G.Dastane V. Shrikant S.Shivde
and Anr. [2001 (6) SCC 135]. Our attention has also been drawn to the preamble
of the Bar Council of India Rules.
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents would, on the other
hand, submit that the appellant herein had been harassing the respondent by
initiating false cases and in fact the complaint in question against the
respondents is the eighth one and no relief had been granted in the other seven
complaints. Mr.Raja would urge that it is improbable that if an act of the
nature complained of had taken place in a court room, the same would not be
brought to the notice of the presiding officer. Neither any private complaint
having been filed nor any proceeding in the criminal courts having been
initiated by the appellant herein and further no evidence in support thereof
having been produced before the Bar Council, the learned counsel would contend
that the impugned orders should not be interfered with by this court.
has not been defined in the Advocates Act, 1961. Misconduct, inter alia,
envisages breach of discipline, although it would not be possible to lay down
exhaustively as to what would constitute conduct and indiscipline, which,
however, is wide enough to include wrongful omission or commission whether done
or omitted to be done intentionally or unintentionally. It means, "improper
behaviour intentional wrong doing or deliberate violation of a rule of standard
is said to be a transgression of some established and definite rule of action,
where no discretion is left except what necessity may demand; it is a violation
of definite law.
Delhi Cloth & General Mills Co. Ltd. vs. Its Workmen reported in (1969) 2
LLJ 755, Shah, J. stated that misconduct spreads over a wide and hazy spectrum
of industrial activity; the most seriously subversive conducts rendering an
employee wholly unfit for employment to mere technical default covered thereby.
Court in State of Punjab and Others vs. Ram Singh Ex.
Constable, reported in 1992 (4) SCC 54, noticed:- "5. Misconduct has been
defined in Black's Law Dictionary, sixth Edition at Page 999 thus:- "A
Transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act,
a dereliction from duty, unlawful behaviour, wilful in character, improper or
wrong behaviour, it synonyms are misdemeanor, misdeed, misbehaviour,
delinquency, impropriety, mismanagement, offense, but not negligence or
in offence has been defined as :- "Any unlawful behaviour by a public
officer in relation to the duties of his office, wilful in character. Term
embraces acts which the office holder had no right to perform, acts performed
improperly and failure to act in the face of an affirmative duty to act".
Aiyar's Law Lexicon, Reprint Edition 1987 at Page 821 defines 'misconduct thus:-
"The term misconduct implies a wrongful intention, and not a mere error of
judgment, Misconduct is not necessarily the same thing as conduct involving
moral turpitude. The word misconduct is a relative term, and has to be
construed with reference to the subject-matter and the context wherein the term
occurs, having regard to the scope of the Act or statute which is being
literally means wrong conduct or improper conduct. In usual parlance,
misconduct means a transgression of some established and definite rule of
action, where no discretion is left, except what necessity may demand and
carelessness, negligence and unskillfulness are transgressions of some
established, but indefinite, rule of action, where some discretion is
necessarily left to the actor.
is a violation of definite law; carelessness or abuse of discretion under an
indefinite law. Misconduct is a forbidden act; carelessness, a forbidden
quality of an act and is necessarily indefinite.
in office may be defined as unlawful behaviour or neglect by a public official,
by which the right of party have been affected." Thus it could be seen
that the word 'misconduct' though not capable of precise of definition, on
reflection receives its conotation from the context, the delinquency in its
performance and its effect on the discipline and the nature of the duty. It may
involve moral turpitude, it must be improper or wrong behaviour; unlawful behaviour,
wilful in character; forbidden act a transgression of established and definite
rule of action or code of conduct but not mere error of judgment, carelessness
or negligence in performance of the duty; the act complained of bears forbidden
quality or character. Its ambit has to be construed with reference to the subject-manner
and the context wherein the term occurs, regard being had to the scope of the
statute and the public purpose it seeks to serve. The police service is a
disciplined service and it requires to maintain strict discipline.
in this behalf erodes discipline in the service causing serious effect in the
maintenance of law and order." of Calcutta (1994 (2) Calcutta Law Journal 456 and B.C.
35 of the Advocates Act, however, refers to imposition of punishment for
professional or other misconduct. A member of legal profession which is a noble
one is expected to maintain a standard in dignified and determined manner. The
standard required to be maintained by the member of the legal profession must
be commensurate with the nobility thereof. A Lawyer is obligated to observe
those norms which make him worthy of the confidence of the community in him as
an officer of the court. This Court in Bar Council, Maharashtra V. M.V.Dabholkar
[AIR 1976 SCC 242 ] observed:- "The high moral tone and the considerable
public service the bar is associated with and its key role in the developmental
and dispute-processing activities and, above all, in the building up of a just
society and constitutional order has earned for it a monopoly to practise law
and an autonomy to regulate its own internal discipline." Although the
power of the Bar Council is not limited, the thrust of charge must be such
which would necessitate initiation of disciplinary proceedings. A professional
or other misconduct committed by a member of the profession should ordinarily
be judged qua profession. To determine the quantum of punishment which may be
imposed on an advocate, the test of proportionality shall be applied which
would also depend upon the nature of the acts complained of. No universal rule
thus can be laid down as regard initiation of a proceeding for misconduct of a
member of the profession.
an Advocate (supra), however, this court emphasized the requirement of
maintaining a high standard stating:- "As has been laid down by this Court
in the matter of 'G', a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court (A) (supra) the
Court, in dealing with cases of professional misconduct is "not concerned
with ordinary legal rights, but with the special and rigid rules of
professional conduct expected of and applied to a specially privileged class of
persons who, because of their privileged status, are subject to certain
disabilities which do not attach to their men and which do not attach even to
them in a non-professional character ...he ( a legal practitioner) is bound to
conduct himself in a manner befitting the high and honourable professional to
whose privileges he has so long been admitted; and if he departs from the high
standards which that professional has set for itself and demands of him in
professional matters, he is liable to disciplinary action." Application of
the principle to the present case:
disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India is a statutory body. At the
first instance the duty to arrive at a finding of facts in respect of complaint
made against a member of the legal profession is upon it. This court although
enjoys extensive and wide jurisdiction under Section 38 of the Act, the opinion
of the Bar Council shall carry great weight.
appellant herein had lodged complaint with the State Bar Council on 5.3.1995 in
relation to the 3 incidents allegedly occurred on 8.10.1993, 26.10.1993 and
Disciplinary Committee had considered the conduct of the appellant herein in
order to judge as to whether the acts on the part of the respondents amount to
was absolutely no reason as to why the appellant did not make any complaint to
the State Bar Council immediately of the incidents which took place on
8.10.1993 and 26.10.1993. If his contention to the effect that in relation to
the incident dated 26.10.1993 he had lodged a first information report there
was absolutely no reason as to why he did not pursue the same seriously. It is,
as has been noticed by the Bar Council of India, accepted that the police filed
final forms but despite the same the appellant did not file any protest
petition or initiate any other proceeding before criminal court. In relation to
the incident dated 1.3.1995 which allegedly took place inside the court room it
was expected of the appellant or his advocate, who is said to be a retired
district judge, to bring the same to the notice of the court.
in relation to the incidents allegedly occurred on 8.10.1993 and 26.10.1993 no
complaint was made before the presiding officer of the court. No proceeding was
initiated in relation to the purported incident on 1.3.1995.
the aforementioned fact situation, the findings of the Bar Council, be said to
be so irrational meriting interference by this court is the question? We are of
the opinion that it is not. We may further place on record that on a querry
made by us to Mr. Upadhyay as to whether any other incident had taken place
after 1.3.1995, the learned counsel categorically stated that no such incident
had thereafter taken place. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the matter
need not be pursued further.
now consider the decision of this court cited at the Bar. In 'M' an Advocate
(supra), this court was dealing with a case where an advocate who had been
appearing in person had been an accused before a magistrate where his conduct
was found to be such which amounted to commission of professional misconduct.
He continuously and persistently attempted to hold up the trial and did
everything in his power to bring the administration of justice in contempt. In
the aforementioned fact-situation, it was held that the High Court was right in
taking action against the advocate concerned.
Ali Khan V. Ishwar Prasad Arya [1997 (3) SC 131] the concerned advocate
assaulted his opponents with a knife. He was prosecuted and found guilty of
commission of an offence under Section 307 of the IPC.
aforementioned situation, it was held that the advocate deserves the
extraordinary punishment of removal of his name from the state rolls of
N.G. Dastane V. Shrikant S.Shivde & Anr.[2001 (6) SC 135] an advocate in
order to defend one of the accused persons before a magistrate sought for
adjournments repeatedly and on 4.12.1993 an adjournment was sought on the
premise that he was unable to speak on account of a throat infection and
continuous cough but the complainant came across the said advocate
"forcefully and fluently" arguing a matter before another court
situated in the same building.
a complaint was lodged wherein a prime facie case was found to have been made
out. This court directed the Bar Council of India to deal with the complaint.
aforesaid decisions of this court are not applicable to the fact of the present
are, therefore, of the opinion that no case has been made out for interfering
with the impugned order.
appeal is dismissed. But in the facts of the case there shall be no order as to