In The Matter of Mr. 'A' An Advocate Vs.
 INSC 280 (25 September 1961)
SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ) SUBBARAO, K.
DAYAL, RAGHUBAR MUDHOLKAR, J.R.
CITATION: 1962 AIR 1337 1962 SCR Supl. (1)
Professional Misconduct-Advocate on Record
writing letters soliciting briefs-If guilty of professional misconduct
Untruthful conduct is, court-Defect of character-Punishment-Supreme Court
Rules, 1950 (as amended), O. IVA, r. 2.
Mr. A, an Advocate on Record of this Court,
wrote letters soliciting clients. One of such letters, a post-card was
addressed to the Law Minister of Maharashtra and ended as follows,- "You
might have got an Advocate on Record in this Court but I would like to place my
services at your disposal is you so wish and agree".
To the Registrar of this Court he admitted
having written the post-card, but before the Tribunal stoutly denied having
done so. The Tribunal found on evidence that the Advocate had written the
post-card. When the matter came up before the court, the Advocate at first
denied having written the post-card but on being pressed by the court to make a
true statement admitted that he had written the postcard and had admitted that
before the Registrar.
^ Held, that it is against the etiquette of
the Bar and its professional ethics to solicit briefs from clients and an
Advocate who does so must be guilty of grossly unprofessional conduct.
There can be no doubt in the instant case
that the Advocate concerned had written the post- card soliciting briefs. It
makes no difference whether he did so in ignorance of this elementary rule of
the profession or in disregard of it, since his conduct in court showed that he
had no regard for truth and, consequently, he deserved no sympathy of the court
and must be suspended.
DISCIPLINARY JURISDICTION: In the matter of
Mr. 'A' an Advocate.
The Advocate in person.
H. N. Sanyal, Additional Solicitor-General of
India and T. M. Sen, for the Attorney-General of India.
1916. September 25 and November 2. The
Judgment of the Court was delivered by SINHA, C. J.-The Advocate proceeded
against for professional misconduct was enrolled as an advocate of the
Allahabad High Court in December 1958. In January 1961, he was enrolled as an
advocate of this Court. The proceedings against him were taken in accordance
with the procedure laid down in O. IV-A of the Supreme Court Rules.
In March this year the Registrar of this
Court received a letter, marked 'Secret', from Secretary to the Government of
Maharashtra, in the Department of law & Judiciary, to the effect that the
"Advocate on Record" of the Supreme Court had addressed a post-card,
dated January 1, 1961, to the Minister of Law of the State of Maharashtra,
which "constitutes a gross case of advertisement and solicitation for
work." The original post-card was enclosed with the letter, with the
request that the matter may be placed before the Chief Justice and the other
Judges of the Supreme Court for such action as to their Lordships may seem fit
and proper. The post-card, which was marked as Ex. A in the proceedings which
followed, is in these terms: Mr. 'A'.
Advocate on Record.
Supreme Court, Office and Residence B.9,
Model Town, Delhi-9.
290 Dear Sir, Jai Hind.
Your attention is drawn to the rule 20 of
order IV of the Supreme Court Rules 1950 (as amended upto date) to appoint an
Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court as according to this rule 'no advocate
other than an advocate on Record shall appear and plead in any matter unless he
is instructed by an Advocate on Record.' You might have got an Advocate on
Record in this court but I would like to place my services at your disposal if
you so wish and agree.
Hoping to be favoured.
Thanks, Yours sincerely, Sd: 'A' To The
Minister of Law, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay." When the matter was
placed before the Chief Justice, he directed the Registrar informally to
enquire from the Advocate concerned whether the post-card in question had been
written by him and bore his rubber stamp and signature. The Registrar called
him, and in answer to his queries, the Advocate admitted that the post-card
bore his rubber stamp and signature and that it bad in fact been dispatched by
him. He also informed the Registrar that he had addressed similar post-cards to
other parties. The Advocate added that he did not realise that in addressing
those post-cards he was committing any wrong or breach of etiquette.
The Chief Justice, on receiving the aforesaid
information, placed the matter before a Committee of three Judges of this
Court, under r. 2, O. IV- A. The Committee considered the matter referred to
it, and 291 on receiving its opinion, the Chief Justice constituted a Tribunal
of three members of the Bar, Shri Bishan Narain and Shri A. Ranganadham Chetty,
Senior Advocates, and Shri I. N. Shroff, Advocate, with Shri Bishan Narain as
its President, for holding the necessary enquiry into the alleged conduct of
the Advocate proceeded against. In reply to the notice served on the Advocate,
he chose to behave in a most irresponsible way by alleging that the complaint
in question by the Government of Maharashtra "is false, mala fide and
misconceived". He denied that he had written the letter in question, which
he characterised as "the work of any miscreant". He added further
that even if it were proved that the letter in question had been written by
him, a mere perusal of it would show that there was nothing unprofessional or
otherwise objectionable in it, and he added further that certainly it is not
solicitation of work if one inquires from any person whether it requires or
wishes and agrees to have the services of another advocate". The Advocate
was examined as witness on his own behalf and the Tribunal put the post-card to
him. The following questions by the Tribunal and answers by the Advocate will
show the determined way in which he denied what he had admitted to the
"Tribunal: This post-card which has been
brought to the notice of the court purports to be from you.
Is this the post-card which you have written
? Witness: No. Tribunal: Has it not gone from your office ? Witness: No. There
is no doubt it bears the seal of my office, but it has not been affixed by me.
292 Tribunal: You say it does bear your name
and that the rubber stamp which appears is of your office but that it has not
been affixed by you.
Tribunal: Is the hand-writing which one find
on this Postcard your hand-writing ? Witness: No. Tribunal: And the signature
which is at the foot of the letter, you say, is not your signature.
Witness: No, it is not mine" The
Tribunal pursued the matter further to find out as to how the post-card had
purported to emanate from his office, and then certain documents, marked Exs.B
to E, were brought on the record with a view to comparing his admitted hand-
writing in those documents with that of the post- card in question. The
Tribunal also made him write a letter in the very terms in which the postcard
is written, with a view to making a comparison of the handwriting on the
post-card with his admitted writing in identical terms, given by him in Court.
The Tribunal then confronted him with his
admissions made to the Registrar, as aforesaid, before the proceedings started.
The following questions and answers will further indicate his attitude;
"Tribunal: In what respects do you find
any difference between your normal signature and this signature (signature on
the post-card is shown to him).
Witness: It appears to be like my signature,
but it is not my signature. Signature on Ex. A is not my signature.
293 Tribunal: In connection with this post-
card did you see the Registrar (Supreme Court) ? Witness: Yes, he called me.
Tribunal: When? Do you know the date ?
Witness: I do not remember.
Tribunal: Did you say anything to him ?
Witness: I did not make any statement.
He showed me the post-card. I told him, as I
said here, that I held not written it;
somebody else might have written it.
Tribunal: Did you admit before the Registrar
that this letter was written by you ? Witness: I did not admit it, but he told
me that if I admitted it, the matter might be hushed up.
Tribunal: Did you say to the Registrar that
you did not realise that in so doing you were doing any thing wrong ? Witness:
No. I did not say anything.
Tribunal: Do you want to produce any evidence
? Witness: No, because I have not done anything; so, I do not want to produce
any evidence. Even if it is found that I have written the post-card, even then
on merits, there is nothing in this Case".
Finding that the Advocate was adamant in his
denial that he wrote the post-card or that he had made any statement before the
Registrar, the Tribunal called the Registrar as a witness and examined him on
solemn affirmation. The Registrar are his evidence and fully supported his
previous 294 report that the Advocate had made those admissions before him.
After recording the evidence, oral and
documentary, the tribunal made the report that inspite of stout denial by the
Advocate concerned, the Tribunal was satisfied that the post-card in question
had been written by him. The Tribunal was also of opinion that the Advocate did
not realise that in writing the post-card he was committing a breach of
professional etiquette and of professional ethics. It also remarked that it was
unfortunate that the Advocate chose to deny the authorship of the post-card.
The findings of the Tribunal, along with the evidence and record of the case,
have been placed before us. 'the Advocate, on notice, has appeared before us
and we have heard him. Before us also the Advocate first took up the same
attitude as he had adopted before the Tribunal, but on being pressed by the
Court to make a true statement as to whether he had written the post-card and
had admitted before the Registrar that he had done so, he answered in the
It is clear beyond any shadow of doubt that
the Advocate had addressed the letter aforesaid to the Government of
Maharashtra, soliciting their briefs; that he had admitted to the Registrar of`
this Court that he had written the post-card and other such post-cards to other
parties, and that he did so in utter disregard of his position as an Advocate
of this Court. It is equally clear that his denial of having written the
post-card, and of having subsequently admitted it to the Registrar, was again
in utter disregard of truth. He has, in this Court, condemned himself as a liar
and as one who is either ignorant of the elementary rules of professional
ethics or has no regard for them. In our opinion, the Advocate has mischosen his
profession. Apparently he is a man of very weak moral fibre. If he is ignorant
of the elementary 295 rules of professional. ethics, he has demonstrated the
inadequacy of his training and education befitting a member of the profession
of law. If he M knew that it was highly improper to solicit a brief and even
then wrote the post-card in question, he is a very unworthy member of the
learned profession. In any view of the matter, he does not appear to be
possessed of a high moral calibre, which is essential for a member of the legal
profession. If anything, by adopting the attitude of denial which has been
demonstrated to he false in the course of the proceedings before the Tribunal,
he has not deserved well of the Court even in the matter of amount of punishment
to be meted to him for his proved misconduct. In our opinion, he fully deserves
the punishment of suspension from practice for five years. This punishment will
give him enough time and opportunity for deciding for himself, after deep
deliberation and introspection, whether he is fit to continue to be a member of
the legal profession. In our view he is not. Let him learn that a lawyer must
never be a liar.