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CASE BRIEF: P.D GUPTA Vs RAM MURTI

P.D GUPTA Vs RAM MURTI AIR 1998 SC 283

CASE NO:

 Civil appeal no. 15496 of 1996, decided on July 8 1997

ADVOCATES ON THE CASE :

Yogesh K. Jain, senior advocate (Pravir Kumar Jain, M. A. Khan, B. K.K Sharma and Rajiv Dutta, advocates with him ) for the appellant

In-person, for respondent 1

JUDGES ON THE BENCH:

S. C. Agarwal

D. P. Wadha, JJ

LEGAL PROVISIONS APPLIED

1. SECTION 38 OF ADVOCATES ACT 1961: Punishment of advocates for misconduct

2. SECTION 36B, ADVOCATES ACT 1961: Disposal of disciplinary proceedings

3. SECTION 38, ADVOCATE ACT 1961: Appeal to the supreme court  

4. SECTION 276 OF THE INDIAN SUCCESSION ACT, 1925: Petition to probate

FACTS OF THE CASE :

In this case, the appellant was an advocate practicing in Delhi. He was held guilty of professional misconduct and was suspended from practice for one year. He filed an appeal in the supreme court of India under section 38 of the Advocates Act against the order of the bar council of India.

Sri Krishnan Das died on Jan 5th, 1980 leaving behind extensive properties both that are movable and immovable. Vidya Wati who claimed to be the sister and the only legal heir of the property filed a petition under section 276 of the Indian Succession Act in the district court of Delhi for the grant of letters of administration to the estate of the deceased, Srikishan Dass. This was filed in February of 1980.

 The complainant, that is, Ram Murti and two other people also laid claim to the properties of the deceased. They claimed themselves to be the heirs to the property of the deceased and propounded three different wills. They also filed a claim under section 276 of the Indian Succession Act before the district judge in Delhi.

Vidya wati also filed a civil suit in the Delhi High Court since there was a dispute regarding the inheritance of the properties of Srikrishna Dass. The complainant also alleged that Vidya Wati had been describing herself either as a real sister or a step-sister or even a half-blood sister of the deceased and this fact was well known to P. D. GUPTA her counsel. The son-in-law of P.D Gupta also purchased some portion of the property. The disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of India found him guilty of professional misconduct and also suspended him for a period of one year.

ISSUES OF THE CASE:

·        Was the Bar council of India right in its decision of finding him guilty of professional misconduct?

·        Whether suspension for a duration of one year period is disproportionate to his guilt?

ANALYSIS OF THE CASE:

1.      The disciplinary committee of the bar council of India stated several grounds in support of the order.

2.      P. D. Gupta claims to know Vidya Wati since 1980 when Krishna Das was still alive This in turn also created doubts about the Bona Fide of P. D. Gupta.

3.      P.D. Gupta knew that the property purchased from Vidya Wati was a subject matter of litigation.

4.      The property situated in Daryaganj was purchased by P. D. Gupta for a mere sum of Rs. 1,80,000 in 1982.

5.      Other grounds of misconduct were also found against P. D. Gupta.

6.      A lawyer is a person with great knowledge of the law and should understand the consequences of their actions. It is important that a lawyer should always keep in mind the guidelines of the BCI. A lawyer should always carry out his profession in an honorable manner and always make sure of the smooth functioning of the public justice system.

JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE:

The Bar Council of India through its disciplinary committee came to the conclusion that P. D. Gupta, the advocate was guilty of misconduct and suspended him from practicing for a period of one year. The Supreme court of India found the order genuine and valid and did not interfere with the punishment that was given to P. D. Gupta.

OTHER RELEVANT CASES:

In the case of Smt. Sudesh Rani v. Munish Chandra Goel, the respondent’s attorney filed lawsuits to have the tenants evicted while concealing the existence of a prior compromise decision that had determined the tenants to be the legal owners of the subject property. Since his wife and he were involved in the settlement of the lawsuits, the respondent advocate withheld the relevant facts. The advocate was found in violation of the rules and given a two-year suspension.

In ruling Prof. Krishanraj v. Vishwanth D. Mukashikar, the DC found the disgraced advocate guilty of misconduct for delaying the filing of the lawsuit and even the interim application, which resulted in a loss for the client.

The Suo Moto Enquiry v. Nand Lal Balwani case, in which the Respondent Advocate threw shoes and shouted epithets in front of the Supreme Court of India, setting off both contempt and misconduct proceedings against him, is a landmark case in the field of advocate misconduct. He was expelled from the roll after the BCI found him guilty of misconduct and the Supreme Court declared him in contempt of court.

Author: Adya Nair

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