Fact of the case : 

           In this case the appellant was enrolled with the State Bar Council as an Advocate on 16/9/1994 vide Enrollment No. P/771/94. On 9/9/1995. the Respondent Association made a written complaint to the State Bar Council making allegations of misconduct against the appellant. The State Bar Council took cognizance of the complaint and referred the complaint to its disciplinary committee. After the completion of the proceedings in DCE No .1 of 1996. Order was passed by the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council to remove the name of the Appellant from the State's Roll of Advocate and the same was confirmed by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India (See... The Functions of Bar Council of India )  The learned Senior Counsel for the appellant strongly contended that the allegations made in the complaint were not established or proved, judged by the standard of proof required in a case like this; the appellant was not actually carrying on business and the evidence on this point was not properly appreciated; at any rate , the punishment Impossible on the Appellant is grossly disproportionate even assuming that the misconduct to was proved.

    Per contra the learned Senior Counsel for the respondent made submissions supporting impugned order. He drew our attention to the evidence brought on record to show how the findings recorded against the appellant are justified. He also strongly contended that the misconduct of the appellant before and even after filing of the appeals before the Bar Council of India and this Court in continuing the business cannot be condoned, further in spite of giving and undertaking before this Court, he is still continuing his business as is supported by the report of the sub judge made to this court. According to him the punishment imposed on the Appellant is proper in the absence of any good ground to take any lenient view.


 The complaint contained allegations of misconduct against the appellant for the period to the date of enrollment as an advocate and also subsequent to his enrollment, in Since the disciplinary Committee of the State Bar Council did not go into the allegations of misconduct pertaining to the period prior to the date of enrollment, it is unnecessary to refer to them. According to the complainant, the appellant was guilty of professional misconduct as he was carrying on and continued his business and business activities even after his enrollment as an advocate, stating thus :


1)  He was running a photocopier documentation center in the Court compound Pathankot, and the space for the same was allotted to the appellant in his personal capacity on account of his being handicapped.

2) He was running a PCO/STD booth which was allotted in his name from P & T department under handicap quota.

3) He was the photocopier/ General Manager of the Punjab coal Briquettes, Pathankot,

   The Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana made an inquiry and passed an order to remove the name of the appellant from the roll of Advocates under Section 35(3)(d) of the Advocate act.

Defence of Appellant :

       Appellate was running business prior to his enrollment, and he did not continue the same after his enrollment as an advocate and he ceased to have any business interest. 

Decision of disciplinary committee :

     After considering the oral and documentary evidence place on record, held appellant guilty of professional misconduct in carrying on business even after he is enrollment as an Advocate. The witnesses were examined including Senior Telecommunication Office Assistant who deposed that STD/PCO has been allotted to appellant on 6/4 /1992 in the handicap quota. and the same is continuing in the name of apple in the name of appellant as per record even after his enrollment as an advocate.

     A Clerk in the office of SDO stated in his evidence that space for installment of photocopy machine was allotted on lease basis on 6/5/ 1961 by Deputy Commissioner, Gurudaspur to the appellant in the handicap quota. Appellant is also carrying business as a proprietor of the Punjab Coal Briquettes, Pathankot. The Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council on evidence on record held appellant guilty of professional misconduct and passed an order to remove the name from roll of Advocate.


 Appeal to the Bar Council of India :

       The disciplinary committee of Bar Council of India confirmed the decision of the State Bar Council and dismissed the appeal.

 Appeal to the Supreme Court :

        The appellant filed this appeal under section 38 of the Advocate Act before Supreme Court. 

Issues : whether there order of a removal from the role of advocate is valid ?

Held :

    Having persuade both orders and evidence placed on record Supreme Court was the view that the finding recorded and thereby held appellant guilty of professional misconduct is supported by and based on cogent and convincing evidence and the charge is proved beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence on record was properly appreciated by both the Disciplinary Committees.

        Supreme Court called for report from the learned sub-judge at Pathankot to see whether the Cabin in which photocopying machine is installed, the name of petitioner as "Bhupendra Photostat Center and whether such inscription was there till yesterday and is continuing as of today. The learned Sub-judge shall also furnish the details regarding the allotment of place within the court compound wherein this has been put up. The report will be submitted within 4 weeks. The learned Sub-judge submitted a report which goes against Appellant.

Decision on Quantum of Punishment :  Whether the punishment is imposed on the Appellant is grossly disproportionate ?

Held : 

       Having regard to the nature of misconduct and taking note of Handicap of Appellant, the Supreme Court is of opinion that debarring Appellant from practicing for all time is too hard. It is just an appropriate to modify the punishment to debar Appellant from practicing upto the end of December 2006. 



Principles Propounded : 
 
       If an advocate carries on any business other than his legal practice, he is liable for professional misconduct under the provisions of the Advocate Act,1961. 




See also...

The Functions of Bar Council of India

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