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Unprofessional Conduct Has To Be Viewed Seriously: Himachal Pradesh HC Reprimands Lawyer For Professional Misconduct

21 Nov 2020 6:43 AM GMT
Unprofessional Conduct Has To Be Viewed Seriously: Himachal Pradesh HC Reprimands Lawyer For Professional Misconduct

The Himachal Pradesh High Court, on Friday, reprimanded a lawyer for misconduct.

"The legal profession is a noble profession. A person practising law has to practise in the spirit of honesty and not in the spirit of mischief­ making or money­ getting.", the bench comprising Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed. The court said that the attestation of an affidavit is not an empty formality.

This is after the court found that even though the accused was not in the country when the petitions on his behalf were filed before this Court, the affidavit filed by him stated the same is attested at Shimla. The court said that this was done by the accused's lawyer for showing his physical presence simply to obtain unfair advantage from the Court. The court further noted that the lawyer had misled the Oath Commissioner who attested the same believing the version put forth by him that his client was very much present outside the Court premises as he was not being permitted to enter the Bar Room due to Covid­19 pandemic.

Though the lawyer offered unconditional apology for this conduct, the bench proceeded to refer to various judgments which dealt with professional misconduct by lawyers.

"It is more than settled that practice of law is not akin to any other business or profession as it involves a dual duty – nay a primary duty to the Court and then a duty to the litigant with the privilege to address the Court for the client. Any compromise with law's nobility as a profession is bound to affect faith of people in rule of law and, therefore, unprofessional conduct by an advocate has to be viewed seriously. A person practising law has an obligation to maintain probity and high standard of professional ethics and morality", the court observed observing that the lawyer is liable to be punished for such misconduct.

The bench, taking into account the apology tendered, did not impose any harsh punishment. Instead, the court directed him to pay costs of Rupees one lakh for wasting the valuable and precious time of the court. He was also directed to pay Rs. 50,000 costs to Oath commissioner and Rs. One Lakh costs to another lawyer for dragging them into this controversy.

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