The Rajasthan High Court, last week, quashed an FIR filed by a Bank alleging wrong legal advice by a lawyer in the form of a forged search report for grant of loan.
The Court was hearing a Petition filed by Mr. Rajendra Singh under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a genuine a forged document) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.
Mr. Singh, who is a practicing lawyer at Bikaner, had submitted search reports to the Central Cooperative Bank, on the basis of which an advanced loan was granted to one Mohd. Rafiq. The Bank had then filed an FIR against Mr. Rafiq, as well as Mr. Singh, alleging that Mr. Singh had filed forged documents with the Bank in order to dupe it into securing a loan.
Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati, however, quashed the FIR against Mr. Singh, relying on the judgment rendered in the case of Madhu Gupta Vs. State of Rajasthan & Anr., wherein the Court had observed, “However, it is beyond doubt that a lawyer owes an "unremitting loyalty" to the interests of the client and it is the lawyer's responsibility to act in a manner that would best advance the interest of the client. Merely because his opinion may not be acceptable, he cannot be mulcted with the criminal prosecution, particularly, in the absence of tangible evidence that he associated with other conspirators. At the most, he may be liable for gross negligence or professional misconduct if it is established by acceptable evidence and cannot be charged for the offence Under Sections 420 and 109 of Indian Penal Code along with other conspirators without proper and acceptable link between them. It is further made clear that if there is a link or evidence to connect him with the other conspirators for causing loss to the institution, undoubtedly, the prosecuting authorities are entitled to proceed under criminal prosecution. Such tangible materials are lacking in the case of the Respondent herein”.