"Don't Call Her An Advocate, She Was Never A Lawyer": Kerala High Court While Considering Fake Lawyer's Pre-Arrest Bail Application

Hannah M Varghese

6 Sep 2021 12:46 PM GMT

  • Dont Call Her An Advocate, She Was Never A Lawyer: Kerala High Court While Considering Fake Lawyers Pre-Arrest Bail Application

    The Kerala High Court on Monday while hearing an anticipatory bail application filed by a 'fake lawyer' objected to her being addressed to as an 'advocate'.Justice Shircy V interrupted the applicant's counsel mid-way through his submissions and remarked, "Don't call her an advocate. She is not a lawyer. Do not use that term in your submissions."This development took place in a matter where...

    The Kerala High Court on Monday while hearing an anticipatory bail application filed by a 'fake lawyer' objected to her being addressed to as an 'advocate'.

    Justice Shircy V interrupted the applicant's counsel mid-way through his submissions and remarked, 

    "Don't call her an advocate. She is not a lawyer. Do not use that term in your submissions."

    This development took place in a matter where a woman named Sessy Xavier had impersonated as an advocate without the requisite qualifications. The matter will be heard elaborately on 8th September.

    During today's hearing, Advocate Roy Chacko representing her in the matter argued that even the accused has the right to personal liberty. 

    He submitted that pursuant to a complaint filed by the Bar Association, an FIR was registered against Xavier for offences punishable under Sections 417 (punishment for cheating) and 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) of the IPC, both of which are bailable offences.

    Subsequently, offences punishable under 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) was added, which is a non-bailable offence. 

    He urged that an application for a pre-arrest bail can only be denied if the investigation officer presses for custodial interrogation, or if there are chances of the applicant tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. 

    It was also argued that all the evidence, including the necessary documents and reports, could be retrieved from the Bar Council and the Registry of the Court while hinting that custodial interrogation may be dispensed with. 

    On a lighter note, it was urged that the applicant and her family had already undergone suffered sufficient mental trauma and that she was from a lower-middle-class family. 

    Subsequently, an impleading application was put forth by Advocate B. Pramod.

    The applicant opposed this application on the ground that he was not the de facto complainant. 

    However, he submitted that the Alappuzha Bar Association, of which he is a member, had withdrawn after registering the complaint due to political considerations.

    This was used as a justification for why he approached the Court personally.

    Thereafter, he submitted that the applicant had been elected in the Bar Council election and served as an office-bearer for some time. He argued that this indicated that she had forged an enrollment certificate to become a member of the Council.  

    On this argument, the advocate hinted at the possibility of the applicant having produced fake documents to reach this stage. 

    The Counsel for the applicant strongly objected to the said submission saying that nothing of that sort was made on record. He stated that her enrollment could have been a mistake made by the Secretary of the Council during the verification procedure. 

    The Court agreed with Advocate Pramod and observed as follows: 

    "Only after convincing the Bar that one is an Advocate will she be admitted as a member of the Bar Council. This suggests that she must have produced forged documents"

    Accordingly, the Court allowed the impleading application and impleaded the Advocate as the third respondent in the matter 

    "The case has been registered against the petitioner at the instance of the Bar Association, Alapuzha. Now the office bearers of the Bar Association are not interested in proceeding with the matter and that is the only reason for him for filing this application to address the Court to oppose the bail application submitted by the petitioner. As, he being a member of the Bar Association, no doubt, he is also to be considered as a person interested in the affairs of the bar association."

    Sessy Xavier had approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in a matter. 

    During one of the earlier proceedings, the applicant had entire matter was merely an immature misunderstanding on the petitioner's part and that there was no malafide motive whatsoever.

    Sessy Xavier had caught the attention of the State after having managed to practice as an advocate for over two years without qualifying for the LL.B degree and enrolling with the State Bar Council.

    During her period of practice, she appeared before the court in several matters. As per certain reports, she even got appointed as Advocate Commissioner in few cases.

    Reports also suggest that she even contested in the Bar Association election this year and was elected as the Librarian.

    While so, the Bar Association received an anonymous letter on July 15 alleging that Xavier had no LL.B degree and enrollment certificate.

    On enquiring with the Kerala Bar Council, the authorities of the Bar Association were shocked to note that the enrollment number given by her belonged to another advocate practising at Thiruvananthapuram.

    The police have registered a case under Sections 417 (cheating) and 419 (cheating by impersonation) of the IPC based on the complaint filed by Alappuzha Bar Association Secretary Abhilash Soman claiming that she did not possess the required qualification and that she had presented a fake roll number of the Kerala Bar Council to the association.

    The matter took a dramatic turn when she attempted to surrender before the Magistrate in Alappuzha assuming that she would be released on bail. However, upon realising that she was charged with non-bailable offences, she fled the courtroom.

    Members of the Alappuzha Bar Association had meanwhile taken a decision not to appear for her before the court.

    Case Title: Sessy Xavier v. State of Kerala

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