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HC averse to some lawyers reducing profession to a mere trade
Coming across numerous frivolous appeals filed, possibly, to avoid the liability to a secured creditor or a bank, the Madras high court has expressed concern that the noble profession that it was once called may now have been reduced by some practitioners to a mere trade or even worse.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee sitting along with Justice S Ananthi at the Madurai bench, said “Oftentimes, instead of appropriate advice being given to a client, devices are chalked out to aid the client that may even border on abetting. These are areas of concern that need to be addressed by the disciplining authority, provided such authority was disciplined itself.”
The observation was made on an appeal moved by a couple (Appellants) wherein they had claimed that they had obtained an agricultural loan from SBI, Cumbam, by mortgaging their agricultural properties. Thereafter, based on a one-time settlement offer made by the bank, they had paid the same and the loan stood discharged. But the appellants complained of some documents being fraudulently registered and sought the Writ Court to declare certain deeds as null and void.
Apart from the Writ Court finding the averments in the affidavit to be “completely jumbled up and disjoined” and the matter being beyond comprehension in how it had been presented, the Court noticed that a bald case of fraud had been made out to challenge the ownership of properties by others.
Based on this, the bench on slamming the counsel appearing in the case said “It is a matter of concern that the filter that was traditionally maintained at the Bar may no longer be in place so that audacious and utterly frivolous claims reach the Court without any degree of care or caution being exercised at the Bar to weed out the completely unworthy matters.”
“It is elementary that questions of title are not gone into in the writ jurisdiction, which is primarily a remedy available in the public law field. In any event, issues as to fraud and forgery cannot be decided on affidavit evidence in summary proceedings and writ petitions are, generally, decided in such manner and without recording any evidence,” the bench held.
Also, pointing out that a challenge of such kind has to be carried to a civil court upon payment of due court fees for the reliefs claimed, the bench led by Chief Justice Banerjee held that the writ petition was nothing more than a kite-flying exercise to put another person’s title in cloud to obtain an undue advantage. Based on this, it imposed a cost of Rs.20,000 on the appellants to be paid to the five respondents in equal measure. “It may also be time for advocate for the appellants to introspect,” the bench added.