Author: Manisha Chakravarti, V year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal
This article mainly contain the case brief of the V.C. Rangadurai vs. D. Gopalan, which primarily discusses the conduct of advocates. A lawyer has certain rights and duties towards his clients, judges, opponents, the public, colleagues, and so on. This case is about the misconduct of the lawyer toward his client. In the legal profession, it all comes down to a person acting in an unbiased manner when making decisions or rulings. In this case, the appellant (V. C. Rangadurai) was found guilty of gross professional misconduct by the disciplinary committee of the State Bar Council, Tamil Nadu and was therefore barred from practicing as an advocate for a period of 6 years. In an appeal, the Bar Council of India upheld the asset findings but reduced the period of suspension to 1 year. The lawyer then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. A client comes to the advocate with a case of a promissory note with the values of 15000 rupees and 5000 rupees. The advocate said that he would handle the case. The first plaint was dismissed. The second plaint was made but no case was filed. The advocate also gave wrong dates and informed the court that he had gotten a decree for the case. The advocate's complaint also featured several inaccuracies. The case brief contains the facts of the case, the judgement given by the court, case analysis, ratio decidendi, and the end conclusion.
Petitioner: V. C. Rangadurai
Respondent: D. Gopalan andOrs.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/10/1978
BENCH: KRISHNAIYER, V.R.
BENCH: KRISHNAIYER, V.R. DESAI, D.A. SEN, A.P. (J)
CITATION: 1979 AIR 281 1979 SCR (1)1054 1979SCC (1) 308
ACTS/RULES/ORDERS USED IN THE CASE
Section 30[i], Section 35[ii], Section 35(3)[iii], Section 35(3)(c)[iv], Section 35(4), Section 36[v], Section 37[vi], Section 37(2), Section 38[vii] of Advocate Act, 1961 and Article 19[viii], Article 38[ix], Article 39A[x] of Constitution of India.
In this case, the parties involved were an advocate named V. C. Rangadurai, a 70-year-old deaf man named Devasenapathy, and an elderly woman named Smt. D. Kamalammal. They had provided Rangadurai with two promissory notes and had also paid the advocate's expenses (the values of 15000 rupees and 5000 rupees.). Nonetheless, the lawyer did not submit the lawsuit on time. The restriction was lifted.
After spending a considerable amount of time strolling about the advocate's office, the elderly man realized that the lawyer had dumped him by failing to file the cases on time despite being paid. He filed a complaint with the disciplinary committee of the Tamil Nadu State Bar Council, which penalised the attorney by suspending him for six years following an investigation.
In this case, V. C. Rangadurai (hereafter referred to as the Appellant) was found guilty of professional misconduct but his ban from practice was reduced from six years to one year. When a lawyer was entrusted with a brief to handle, he was supposed to adhere to professional ethical standards to safeguard the interests of his clients. However, the Appellant had entirely violated the complainants' faith in him. However, to unlawfully withhold a client's money from a lawyer was a breach of integrity and lack of probity, and such serious professional misconduct required condign punishment. The State Bar Council determined that the Appellant deserved to be disbarred and suspended him from practice for six years, which was reduced to one year by the Disciplinary Committee. As a result, no restrictions could be put on the advocate's rights to appear before any court or body, as provided for in Section 30 of the Act. As a result, the sentence imposed by the Disciplinary Committee of the BCI did not require further intervention. The appeal was therefore denied.
When an advocate is prohibited from practising under section 35(4) cl.(c) of subsection (3), he is prohibited from doing so in any court or before any authority or person in India for the duration of the prohibition. If the issuance of such a direction implies the termination of the order of suspension upon the fulfilment of the requirements set above, "I am of the considered opinion that no restriction on the advocate's right to appear before any court or authority, which he enjoys under Section 30 of the Act, may be imposed."
As a result, the Supreme Court upheld the disciplinary committee's decision to suspend the advocate for six years.
What constitutes professional ethics are the obligations that the advocate must uphold? A lawyer is considered to have violated professional ethical standards if they fail to fulfill these obligations. These are the moral obligations that all members of society, not only advocates but also those in other professions, are required to uphold since ethics and morality are essential to every member of society.
The appellant was forbidden from practising as an advocate for six years after being found guilty of gross professional misconduct in this matter by the Disciplinary Committee II of the State Bar Council of Tamil Nadu. In response to an appeal, the Bar Council of India affirmed the aforementioned conclusions but shortened the suspension to one year. The court dismissed the appeal, concluding that punishment serves two purposes: deterrence and correction. But when looked at from a reformatory perspective, traditional punishments have their own limits and shortcomings. If only courts were allowed to experiment in unconventional ways while still adhering to the rules of the law, a therapeutic touch, a correctional twist, and a locus poenitentiae may have had a rehabilitative effect.
According to Bar Council Rules[xi], an advocate is prohibited from appearing, acting, pleading, or practising before the court if any member of their family—such as a parent, son, wife, etc.—is a court-related party. The main object is to avoid personal bias between an advocate and the presiding officer related to such an advocate. Due to natural love and affection, the judge may be inclined toward the advocate, thus favouring the client of the advocate who is related to him or her.
The ratio decidendi in this situation is that every criminal who defrauds his regular customer ought to be viewed with disfavour since the nobility of the legal profession only lasts as long as its members uphold their dedication to serving society.
The main objective of legal ethics is to uphold the honour and dignity of the legal profession. It also aims to maintain a cordial environment in the courtroom devoid of prejudice and arguments between attorneys, which could try to sour relations between the bar and bench and negatively affect the administration of the justice system. Advocacy needs to cooperate and treat one another fairly. This mindset aids an advocate in gaining more clients and being more responsible to society because it is thought that they serve a public service.
Every individual has a set of guidelines that they adhere to. An advocate has obligations or a code of behaviour that he must uphold in relation to himself, his clients, his adversaries, his colleagues, the court, and others. The advocate must maintain court etiquette and show respect to both his adversaries and his fellow attorneys. He must always act in the best interests of his customers and must never take any action that might jeopardise their confidence in him. All of these duties, morals, and obligations help a lawyer develop in his or her job and become a successful attorney.The appeal was therefore denied.
[i] Right of advocates to practise [ii] Punishment of advocates for misconduct [iii] The disciplinary committee of a State Bar Council after giving the advocate concerned and the Advocate-General an opportunity of being heard, may make any orders mentioned under section Section 35(3). [iv] The disciplinary committee of a State Bar Council after giving the advocate concerned and the Advocate-General an opportunity of being heard, may suspend the advocate from practice for such period as it may deem fit. [v] Disciplinary powers of Bar Council of India [vi] Appeal to the Bar Council of India [vii] Appeal to the Supreme Court [viii] Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc [ix] State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people. [x] Equal justice and free legal aid [xi] Rule 6 of Chapter II of Part-VI