SC upholds Allahabad HC Rule which mandates that a lawyer outside state cannot appear in Court without a Local lawyer's appointment
The Bench held that Rules 3 and 3A of the Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952 are perfectly valid, legal and do not violate the right of the appellant under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court in JAMSHED ANSARI VS. HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD & ORS has held that right of Advocates to appear and conduct cases in the court is a matter on which the court must and does have major supervisory and controlling power and it cannot be and are not divested of control or supervision of conduct in court merely because it may involve the right of an Advocate.
Dismissing an appeal against Allahabad High Court Judgment preferred by a lawyer, Jamshed Ansari, the Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices AK Sikri and N V Ramana held that Rules 3 and 3A of the Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952 and perfectly valid, legal and do not violate the right of the appellant under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
As per the Rules, an Advocate who is not on the Roll of Advocate or the Bar Council of the State is not allowed to appear, act or plead in the said Court unless he files an appointment along with the advocate who is on the Roll of such State Bar Council and is ordinarily practicing in that Court. The impact of this Rule is that for appearance in Allahabad High Court, an Advocate who is registered with the Bar Council of the State of Uttar Pradesh is allowed to appear, act or plead in the said Court only when he files his Vakalatnama along with an Advocate who is enrolled with Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh and is ordinarily practicing in the Allahabad High Court. This Rule was challenged mainly on the ground that these Rules put an unreasonable restriction on his right to practice as an Advocate and are also ultra vires the provisions of Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961
Observing that the Rules pass the test of Reasonableness, the Court said: “Such Rules are also aimed at helping in regulating the functioning of the Court. It is important for the orderly functioning of the Allahabad High Court that Rolls are maintained in Order to effect service of notices and copies of pleadings and ensure regular procedural 13 compliances. The same will not be possible if proper records of Advocates practicing in the High Court are not maintained in the High Court. The administration of justice will suffer if no person is held accountable for non-compliance of office reports etc. There may be occasions when Advocates may be called upon by the Court in pending matters and the dispensation of justice will suffer if there is no record of Advocates who do not generally practice in the High Court, may not attend matters in which they may have filed their vakalatnama before the High Court. It is imperative for the smooth and effective functioning of the court that the court is able to fix responsibility on Advocates, which is not possible if Roll of Advocates is not maintained in the High Court. Moreover, an advocate is permitted to file vakalat on behalf of a client even though his appearance inside the court is not permitted. Conduct in court is a matter concerning the Court. But the right to appear and conduct cases in the court is a matter on which the court must and does have major supervisory and controlling power. Hence courts cannot be and are not divested of control or supervision of conduct in court merely because it may involve the right of an Advocate.”
The Court also, referring to earlier decisions, held that right to practice as an Advocate is not an absolute right and it was only a statutory right which is controlled by the provisions of the Act. The Court further observed: “the disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on the Bar Councils under Section 36 of the Act for misconduct committed by the advocates stand on a different footing than the powers conferred on the High Courts to frame rules to practice before the High Court or subordinate Courts. It may be the intention of the Parliament to confer the jurisdiction on the lawyers' body like Bar Councils regarding misconduct by advocates to maintain the independence of the Bar. However, again keeping in mind the administration of justice and regulating the Court proceedings and right to practice and right to appear before the high Courts and Subordinate Courts, power is conferred on the High Courts, to frame rules. If High Court keeping in mind, several relevant factors like the purity in a administration of justice, the interest of the litigant public and easy availability of the advocate to assist the court for proper adjudication of the dispute pending before it or expeditious disposal of such proceedings or for any other valid or good reasons which High Court considered just and proper frames such rules, we find no fault in Rule 3 or Rule 3A of the Rules.”
Referring to Clause 7 of Letters Patent, the Court said:”A perusal of Clause 7 shows that the High Court of Judicature for the North-Western provinces (now known as Allahabad High Court) was empowered to “approve, admit and enrol advocates” and to authorize them “to appear, to plead or to act, or to plead and act” for the suitors in accordance with the rules and directions. This power of the High Court continues by virtue of Section 223 of the Government of India Act, 1935 and Article 225 of the Constitution of India.”
Read the Judgment here.