Vikas Deshpande vs Bar Council of India and others, (2003) 1 SCC 384 V N Khare, and Ashok Bhan -JJ
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Appellant advocate was enrolled on this state Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa and was practicing in district Nanded. The complainants, all deceased were prosecuted for committing murder of 6 persons on 16/12/90 at village mandgi, Taluka degloor , district Nanded . The complainant requested the session court for appointment of advocate as amicus Curie to defend them as they were unable to engage and advocate because of their property. The session court after trial awarded death penalty by an order date 30/8/91 .
The appellant contacted the complainants in yerwarda Central prison and took the copies of the judgement from the complainants and obtained their thumb impression and signature on vakalatnama to prefer an appeal in High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad bench. The appellant told the complainants that he would not be charging of any fee as he was doing this to make a name for himself.
On 10/10/ 91 appellant visited complainants again and obtained their signatures on the some stamp papers. The deed was not read over to the complainant and the contents we are not made to know them. The complainants signed and put their thumbs impression on the document in good faith.
On date 1/1/ 92 The High Court dismissed The Appeal and confirmed the death sentence and subsequently the complainants were hanged to death on 16/2/ 92 the appellant met the Complainants in Yerwada Central prison again and told them that he had sold their land on the basis of power of attorney executed in his fever by the authorising him to sale the land .He said that he had appropriated the money received by him towards his fees.
The appellant further asked the complainants To authorise him to prepare an appeal to the Supreme court declined.
The complainants filed the complaint to the State Bar council under section 35 of advocate Act,1961. The complainant said that they had never authorised the appellant to sell their land and the appellant had committed fraud on them on the basis of alleged power of attorney of obtained by him through misrepresentation .
Bar council took suo Motu cognizance and conducted the enquiry. It was contended by the appellant that as per the oral agreement complainants would pay 50000 rupees to Appellant for conducting apeal before high court as his fee and authorised him to dispose of the land to recover and appropriate the money towards his fees.
The appellants old 6 acres and 30 gunthas of land out of 16 acres of land owned by the complainant. It is pertinent to note that the government valuation of the land was ₹ 1,35,000/- but the appellant had settled the final consideration at ₹.75,000/- Total amount 47,000/- was paid to the appellant but ₹ 28,000/- could not be obtained as the power of attorney executed in his fever was cancelled by the complainant.
Issue and evidence -
1) it was proved that the appellant met complainants on 30/8/91 and obtained a copy of judgement thumb impression and signature on vakalatnama to prefer an appeal in High Court.
2) Appellant solicited the brief for No remuneration
3) it is proved that on the 10/ 10/91 appellant met complainants and obtained their signatures on stamp paper without explaining the contents of the stamp papers.
4) it is proved that on 16/2/92 appellant met complainants and told them that he had sold their land under the power of attorney executed by them and told them that he would prefer an appeal in the Supreme Court against order of the high court .
5) it is proved that act of sale of the land amounted professional misconduct bar council ordered to remove the name of the appellant from the role of a Bar under section 35 (3) (D) of advocate Act 1961. cost of rupees 25,000/- was imposed and made payable to the legal Heirs of the complainants because by that time complainan had already been put to death in execution of sentence imposed upon them.
Though the appellant was duly served 4 times, he did not appear before disciplinary committee at any time. The appellant has taken advantage the situation that the complainants were facing death sentence and fraudulently appropriate the sale proceeds for his gain. Appellant has committed grave Professional misconduct.
Appeal to Bar Council of India-
Dismissed and order of the State bar Council confirmed.
Appeal to Supreme Court
Judgement delivered by Justice Bhan, appeal observed to be dismissed and order of disciplinary committee of Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa is confirmed.
Supreme Court in this case has made an appeal to the legal fraternities. In the words of justice Bhan quoted " Relationship between an advocate and his client is of trust and therefore sacred, such acts of professional misconduct and the frequency which with which such acts are coming to the light distress as well as sadness us, preservation of the mutual trust between the Advocate and the client is a must otherwise the prevalent judicial system in the country would collapse and fail.
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