Both Bar & Bench Commit Mistakes; Wrong Legal Advice Is Valid Ground To Condone Delay In Filing Written Statement: Calcutta HC

Both Bar & Bench Commit Mistakes; Wrong Legal Advice Is Valid Ground To Condone Delay In Filing Written Statement: Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court has observed that wrong advice of advocate can be considered as sufficient ground to condone the delay in filing the written statement.

Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya made this observation while setting aside a trial court order that rejected a petition to accept that a written statement was rejected, primarily on the premise that ignorance of law and wrong advice of advocate were not sufficient grounds to condone the delay.

The court said there could not be any reason for the petitioner to wait for filing his written statement unless there was a wrong legal advice and the trial court applied an erroneous legal test in overlooking wrong advice of advocate as a valid ground for condoning delay, thereby committing a jurisdictional error.

 “One has to be pragmatic and cannot live in Utopia. Undoubtedly, ideally, an advice from an Advocate ought to be correct, and fault ought to be attributed on the litigant for having delayed the filing of written statement; but in terms of real-life situations, we often find that there are errors committed both on the part of the Bench and the Bar. As such, we cannot think in terms of such ideal scenario and raise the sanctity of legal advice to such a pedestal that the litigant would be strangled on the way.” the court said.

However, it saddled the petitioner with costs of Rs. 50, 000 for occasioning the delay in filing the written statement.

Recently, Live Law had reported a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment wherein it was observed that a litigant cannot plead that since his lawyer had not given correct legal advice to him, he should not be made to suffer from adverse orders.  In another case, it held that the incompetence of a lawyer cannot be a ground for recalling witnesses under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.