Advocates; Brenda Barbara Francis Vs. Adrian Miranda [Kerala High Court, 08-07-2016]

Advocates Act, 1961 – Section 32 – Power of Court to permit appearances in particular cases – Practising lawyer appears in person as a power of attorney holder in the absence of a vakalath – Held, An Advocate cannot escape from the provisions of Advocates Act by opting to plead and argue the case as power of attorney holder of the parties.

Advocate


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

V.CHITAMBARESH, & K.RAMAKRISHNAN, JJ.

R.F.A.No. 353 of 2016

Dated this the 08th day of July, 2016

Brenda Barbara Francis Vs. Adrian Miranda

O R D E R

Chitambaresh, J.

Mr. G. Anand – a practising lawyer of the High Court of Madras at Chennai – appears in person as a power of attorney holder on behalf of the appellants in this Regular First Appeal. We expressed a doubt as to whether a person enrolled as an Advocate could be permitted to appear in person as a power of attorney holder in the absence of a vakalath. The reply given was that the power of attorney holder is not appearing in the robes of an Advocate and that any person could function as such for the parties. The appeal arises out of the supplementary final decree for partition in O.S. No. 34/1999 on the file of the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Thiruvananthapuram.

2. We appointed Mr. Leo George, Advocate as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court and it should be mentioned that he did his job exceedingly well.

3. The same person appearing in the dual capacity of a power of attorney holder and Advocate has been deprecated in

Oil and Natural Gas Commission v. Offshore Enterprises [AIR 1993 Bombay 217].

It was held therein as follows:-

Advocates in their professional capacity are enjoined to act with complete impartiality and detachment and not entitled to identify themselves with the clients or the cause personally. The paramount duty of an Advocate is to assist the Court in its task of administering justice. In the event of there being any conflict between interest and duty, the Advocate must yield in favour of his duty to assist the cause of fair and impartial justice. An Advocate is expected to be fair and reasonable towards his opponent. All these principles bind the Advocates in discharge of their professional duties. Advocates belong to noble profession of law. On the other hand, a constituted attorney is entitled to identify himself with the donor of power of attorney and act in the same manner as the suitor litigant is entitled to act. An Advocate is governed not merely by written provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 but also by traditions of Bar built up for generation during the course of administration of justice for centuries.”

(emphasis supplied)

The above observations have been quoted with approval also by the Bombay High Court in

BBN (UK) Limited and Others v. Janardan Mohandas Rajan Pillai and Others [1995 AIHC 1216]

4. Any appearance, application or act in or to any Court, required by law to be made by a party in such Court, may be made or done by the party in person, or by his recognised agent or by a pleader. The recognised agent by whom such appearance, application or act may be made or done can as well be a person holding power of attorney of the party. The above is evident from a conjoint reading of

Rules 1 and 2 of Order III of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

(the ‘CPC’ for short). The appointment of a power of attorney holder has nevertheless to be preceded by the grant of permission by Court (See:

T.C. Mathai and Another v. Sessions Judge, (1999) 3 SCC 614

5. However there is an embargo for a person enrolled as an Advocate under the

Advocates Act, 1961

to appear before any Court, authority or person in any particular case under Section 32 thereof. It reads as follows:-

32. Power of Court to permit appearances in particular cases

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Chapter, any Court authority or person may permit any person, not enrolled as an advocate under this Act, to appear before it or him in any particular case.”

(emphasis supplied)

The obvious object of the statutory provision is that the Advocate holds an exalted position as an officer of the Court who should not identify with the cause of his client whom he represents in the lis.

6. There is also an inbuilt limitation for a power of attorney holder in the matter of presentation of proceedings or to plead and argue on behalf of the principal in Court. All petitions, appeals and other proceedings shall be presented in person by the party, or his Advocate or the Advocate’s registered clerk as per Rule 32 of the Rules of the High Court of Kerala. Decisions are legion that the power of attorney holder can only appear and conduct the judicial proceedings and would not normally be permitted to plead and argue on behalf of the principal. The power of attorney holder in the instant case has no interest in the subject property and is admittedly a person enrolled as an Advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961.

7. We are unable to extend any right of audience to Mr. G. Anand as power of attorney holder of the appellants so long as he has not surrendered his certificate of enrollment as Advocate. The punishment for misconduct and the disciplinary powers of the Bar Council of India against an Advocate have been delineated in Chapter V of the Advocates Act, 1961. An Advocate cannot escape from these rigorous provisions by opting to plead and argue the case as power of attorney holder of the parties. We adjourn the hearing to enable the appellants to take steps including the filing of a vakalath of an Advocate as per Rule 17 of the Rules of the High Court of Kerala.

Adjourned.