Even though there is no definition as such for misconduct in the advocate’s act of 1966 but it does mean a breach in the discipline, to say the least. Furthermore, it’s not possible to decide on what all would be included under misconduct and there is every possibility of addition or omission of something or the other intentionally or unintentionally.
The court has held the conduct that makes anyone unfit for his profession, embarrasses or damages the administration of justice’s reputation may be deemed as misconduct. The conduct that makes any advocate unworthy of continuing as the member of the legal profession or is not deemed fit for undertaking the responsibilities that have to be performed, he or she is chargeable of misconduct and is punishable under the same.
Some of the important cases that did bring the lawyers under the scanner and punished them if found guilty include the following-
1. Deliberate delay in filing a suit
In one such case, the court found the lawyer guilty of deliberately delaying the suit filing procedure when the complainant accused the advocate of doing it in the connivance with the other side. The lawyer’s license was suspended for two years by the deciding committee.
2. Forged Document Handover
In one such case, the advocate was found guilty for handing over forged stay order while in reality no stay order was passed by the court. The committee after looking into the facts held the lawyer guilty for misconduct of serious nature and ordered for the removal of his name from the Bar Council Register of Delhi.
3. Defrauding illiterate clients
One of the cases of misconduct involved taking the signatures on blank watermarked paper for defrauding a client. The committee found the advocate guilty of the act.
4. Intentional delay in appearing in the court
A complainant had alleged that her lawyer took the money and still did not appear in the court for the proceedings due to which she lost the case. The committee held the advocates conduct deliberate and suspended his practice for the period of two years.
5. Advocate engaged in carrying out business actively
An advocate was found guilty by the committee in actively engaging in working as a printer, editor and publisher for the weekly ‘Aaj ki Janata’ in spite of being an advocate. The Committee found him guilty as per rule 47 of BCI, which prohibits an advocate from engaging in personal business.
Well, the committee decides on the punishment pertaining to professional misconduct after thorough cross-examination and it comes under the advocates’ act 1966. As for contempt of court, the punishment is different and not the same as professional misconduct.
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