A two judge bench of the High court of Kerala, comprising of Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice K Ramakrishnan in Brenda Barbara Francis v Adrian Miranda has ruled that an advocate cannot plead and argue a case as a power of attorney holder on behalf of the parties.
The petitioner who was represented by a power of attorney holder , who was also an advocate by profession, sought permission to canvass submissions in person on behalf of the said party before the court.
Declining the said relief, the court held that only a person authorized to appear on behalf of the client can make submissions thereof. The court while drawing the distinction of power exercisable by a power of attorney holder / advocate observed that the latter held an exalted position as an officer of the court. The court further added that hence such a person should not get himself involved in the cause of his client whom he represents in the case.
The court observed:-“Any appearance, application or act in or to any Court, required by law to be made by a party in such Court, may be made or done by the party in person, or by his recognised agent or by a pleader. The recognised agent by whom such appearance, application or act may be made or done can as well be a person holding power of attorney of the party. The above is evident from a conjoint reading of Rules 1 and 2 of Order III of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (the 'CPC' for short). The appointment of a power of attorney holder has nevertheless to be preceded by the grant of permission by Court (See: T.C. Mathai and Another v. Sessions Judge [(1999) 3 SCC 614]). However there is an embargo for a person enrolled as an Advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961 to appear before any Court, authority or person in any particular case under Section 32 thereof.”
Read the order here.