Dhanji Chaudhary Vs. Suhas Jayant Natawadkar  INSC 1689 (30 October 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION I.A. No.2 of 2009 IN
Special Leave Petition (C) NO. 18481/2009 Vijay Dhanji Chaudhary ....
Petitioner Suhas Jayant Natawadkar ..... Respondent
O R D E R
I.A. No.2 of 2009 is an application for restoration of the special
leave petition dismissed for non-prosecution on 20.7.2009. This application
discloses a disturbing trend in regard to the functioning of
The special leave petition is stated to have been drafted by Mr.
Vikas Mahajan, Advocate and filed by Mr.D.B. Vohra, Advocate-on-Record. The
application for restoration is filed by Mr. D.B. Vohra, alleging that the case
was listed for hearing on 20.7.2009; that he (Mr. D. B. Vohra,
Advocate-on-Record for the petitioner) was aware of the listing of the
petition; that he informed the clerk of Mr. Vikas Mahajan, about the listing;
that Mr. Vikas Mahajan, 2 Advocate by mistake did not enter this case in his
diary and therefore, Mr. Vikas Mahajan did not appear. There is no affidavit of
Mr. Vikas Mahajan in support of the application.
What is puzzling is the role or rather the absence of the role of
the Advocate-on-Record in this matter. Para 4 of the application shows that the
Advocate-on-Record had nothing to do with the special leave petition except to
lend his name for filing the petition. He did not take instructions from the
client/petitioner. He did not prepare the special leave petition. He did not
instruct any counsel.
not required to or expected to attend the hearing of the case.
The Supreme Court Rules, 1966 provide that though any advocate
enrolled under the Advocates
Act, 1961, is entitled to appear and plead before the
Court, no advocate other than the Advocate-on-Record shall be entitled to file
an appearance or act for a party in the Court [vide Rule 1, Rule 6(b) and Order
IV]. Rule 5 provides that no advocate shall be qualified to be registered as
advocate-on-record unless he has undergone training for one year with an
Advocate-on-Record approved by the court and thereafter has passed the tests
held by the court. Rule 6(a) provides that an Advocate-on-Record shall, on his
filing memorandum of appearance on behalf of a party, accompanied by
Vakalatnama 3 duly executed by the party, be entitled to act as well as to
plead for the party in the matter and to conduct and prosecute before the court
all proceedings that may be taken in respect of the said matter or any
application connected with the same or any decree or order passed therein
including proceedings in taxation and applications for review. Sub-clause (c)
of Rule 6 requires all Advocates-on- Record to keep such books of account as
may be necessary to show in connection with his practice as an advocate-on-
record, moneys received from or on account of and the money paid to or on
account of each of his client.
Unfortunately, many special leave petitions are being filed with
Advocates-on-Record being mere name-lenders, without having, or taking, any
responsibility for the case.
result of prevalence of such a practice, in such cases, the Advocates-on-record
do not appear when the matters are listed either before the Registrars or
before the Chamber Judge or the Court nor do they take any interest or
responsibility for processing or conducting the case. They also play no role in
preparation of the special leave petitions, nor ensure that the requirements of
the Rules are fulfilled and defects are cured. If the role of an advocate-
on-record is merely to lend his name for filing cases without being responsible
for the conduct of the case, the 4 very purpose of having the system of
Advocates-on-Record would get defeated.
The question that arises for consideration is whether an
Advocate-on-Record can file appearances as mere name- lender for facilitating
filing of petitions by others, without performing any of the functions
associated with an Advocate-on-Record.
In order to enforce discipline in the working of
advocates-on-record and to avoid the misuse of the system, and to ensure that
the court has the benefit of effective assistance of the Advocates-on-record, a
solution has to be found.
We, therefore, direct issue of notice to the Advocates- on-record
Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association to assist us to find
appropriate solutions and provides necessary checks and balances. The Registry
is directed to furnish copies of this order to the said Associations.
List the matter on 30.11.2009.
__________________J. [ R. V. Raveendran ]
__________________J. [ G.S. Singhvi ]
October 30, 2009.