Lawyer Claiming Percentage On Permanent Alimony Given To His Client Is Illegal: Orissa HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Lawyer [Read Order]

Lawyer Claiming Percentage On Permanent Alimony Given To His Client Is Illegal: Orissa HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Lawyer [Read Order]

The conduct of members of the legal profession who do not follow ethics contributes to obstruction of administration of justice, the court said

While rejecting anticipatory bail plea of a lawyer accused of cheating his client, the Orissa High Court observed that a lawyer claiming percentage on the permanent alimony given to his client, as fees, is illegal.

The allegation of the client against the lawyer was that he was in hand in glove with her husband although he was her advocate for the divorce case and he conspired with her husband and created forged documents in order to cheat her.

Justice SK Sahoo took note of legal notice issued on behalf of the lawyer to a lady client wherein it was indicated that his client had promised to give 10% of the amount of permanent alimony which she would get and therefore, she has to clear such amount.

The court referring to recent apex court judgment in B. Sunitha vs. The State of Telengana said: “It prima facie appears that the petitioner has completely betrayed the trust reposed in him by the victim. He has even gone to the extent of claiming percentage on the permanent alimony given to the victim which is illegal.”

Perusing the complaint, Justice SK Sahoo observed: “If the victim had specifically instructed to the petitioner to prepare divorce agreement with a sum of Rs.50,00,000/- (rupees fifty lakh), there was no earthly reason on the part of the petitioner to prepare an agreement for permanent alimony with a sum of Rs.35,00,000/- (rupees thirty-five lakh) without intimating the victim in that respect.”

Rejecting his pre-arrest bail plea, the court observed that it prima facie appears that there is ring of truth in the statement of the complainant that her Vakkalathnama along with her signatures in stamp papers and blank papers were collected by the petitioner and that the conduct of the lawyer is also highly suspicious.

If a legal practitioner fails to understand the significance of the profession... he has no right to continue as a member of this noble profession

The court further observed that if a legal practitioner fails to understand the significance of the profession and his role in providing access to justice and assisting the citizens in securing their fundamental and other rights then he has no right to continue as a member of this noble profession. Any violation of the principles of professional ethics by an advocate is unfortunate and unacceptable. “The legal profession which is essentially a service-oriented profession is the major component of the justice delivery system. Role of the legal profession in strengthening the administration of justice is unique. The relationship between the lawyer and the client is one of trust and confidence. The client entrusts the whole obligation of handling legal proceedings to an advocate and the advocate has to act with utmost good faith, integrity, fairness and loyalty. Nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. The conduct of members of the legal profession who do not follow ethics contributes to obstruction of administration of justice.

Read the Order Here