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Counsel Can Sue In Cause Initiated By Client If He Has Independent Cause Of Action: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
7 Jun 2017 7:52 AM GMT
Counsel Can Sue In Cause Initiated By Client If He Has Independent Cause Of Action: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]
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If the counsel is aggrieved and, even in a cause imitated by his client, if he has an independent cause of action, he can sue in his own name, the bench observed.


The Kerala High Court has held that if the counsel of a litigant is aggrieved in a cause initiated by his client and if he has an independent cause of action, he can sue in his own name.

The counsel for a litigant before the family court had himself challenged before the high court the objection raised by the registry of the court with regard to attestation in in vakalath, which he filed along with the maintenance case.

Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu, speaking for the division bench, headed by Justice PN Ravindran, said: “It needs no much cogitation on our part to hold that a counsel cannot carry legal proceedings in his own name in a case initiated by his client. This proposition, however, needs to be qualified. If the counsel is aggrieved and, even in a cause imitated by his client, if he has an independent cause of action, he can sue in his own name.”

The court observed that had the registry refused to register or number a case because of a defect in the case presentation, that refusal would have been challenged by the party alone.

On the other hand, if the defect concerns any shortcoming on the counsel’s part, he can maintain an independent cause. Noble as the legal profession has been, the counsel too has his rights; for example, his right to practice the profession—a right sacrosanct and constitutionally consecrated,” the bench said.

The court held the original petition filed before it by the counsel of the litigant as maintainable, but disposed of the petition recording the report submitted by the family court presiding officer, by directing to number the maintenance case if the counsel cures the second defect: producing the power of attorney executed by the mother in her daughter’s favour.

The judgment also quotes various authorities about the duty of the lawyer towards client vis-à-vis that towards court and the society at large.

Read the Judgment here.

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