Topic: LC Goyal v Nawal Kishore - Fraud and forgery
LC Goyal v Nawal Kishore
Bench : S.C. Agrawal and Sujata V. Manohar, JJ. - Date of judgment : Jan-09-1997 - Case Number : Civil Appeal No. 9982 of 1983
Acts : Advocates Act, 1961 - Sections 38, 35(1), 36(B)
S.C. Agrawal and Sujata V. Manohar, JJ.
1. This appeal filed under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) is directed against the order of the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India dated 24-6-1983 whereby the appellant has been suspended from practice for a period of six months.
2. The facts, briefly stated, are as follows:
The appellant was practising as an Advocate-on-Record in this Court. He was engaged by one Nawal Kishore (hereinafter referred to as “the complainant”) to file a special leave petition in this Court. The appellant filed the special leave petition and on the said special leave petition an order was passed for issuing notice to the respondent in the said petition. The case of the complainant is that thereafter he received a letter dated 7-9-1979 from one Balaram, describing himself as PA to the appellant, whereby the complainant was asked to come immediately to Delhi with Rs 2000 which amount was to be deposited as security deposit in the Court and that on receiving the said letter he came to Delhi on 13-9-1979 and handed over a sum of Rs 2000 to the appellant for depositing the same in the Court. The complainant's case is that after paying the said amount to the appellant he asked for a receipt but he was informed by the appellant that the receipt would be obtained from the Court after 3 or 4 days. According to the complainant, he wrote several letters to the appellant asking for the receipt of Rs 2000 and that by letter dated 21-1-1980 the appellant wrote to him that a theft had been committed at his residence and, therefore, he was unable to send any bi11/receipt at present and that he had to apply for a duplicate receipt. He asked the complainant to come on 1-2-1980 or 2-2-1980 because the case was fixed for 4-2-1980. The complainant reached Delhi on 4-2-1980 and when he met the appellant he handed over to him a receipt dated 15-9-1979 bearing No. 611334 signed by the Deputy Registrar (Administration) of the Supreme Court. The case of the complainant is that he showed the said receipt to another Advocate, Shri M.K. Garg, who felt a doubt about the genuineness of the said receipt since no security amount was required to be deposited during the pendency of the special leave petition and security amount was required to be deposited only after the special leave was granted. Thereupon the complainant submitted a letter dated 7-2-1980 to the Registrar of the Supreme Court wherein he set out the facts aforementioned and along with the said letter he also submitted the receipt for Rs 2000 that was handed over to him by the appellant. After the receipt of the said complaint a letter dated 6-5-1980 was sent to the appellant by the Assistant Registrar (Administration) of the Supreme Court wherein after referring to Receipt No. 611334 dated 15-9-1979 for Rs 2000 it was stated that from the records of the Supreme Court it was found that no such receipt was issued by the Registry of the Supreme Court for a sum of Rs 2000 in the Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 4886 of 1979 nor any amount towards security was ever deposited in the Supreme Court Registry in the said matter. By the said letter the appellant was required to produce his books of accounts and office copies of the letters written by him to the complainant regarding deposit of Rs 2000 as security deposit in the said special leave petition. In his reply dated 15-5-1980 to the said letter the appellant stated that his landlady had illegally and forcibly trespassed into his residence on 6-2-1980 and all his files and papers were either lying in the custody of the landlady or had been stolen away and that in these circumstances it was not possible to produce any books of accounts or office copies in connection with the case and that it was not possible for him to say anything relying on memory. In the said letter the appellant did not deny his having received a sum of Rs 2000 from the complainant or his having given the receipt in respect of the said amount to the complainant. Thereafter, the appellant addressed another letter dated 11-6-1980 to the Registrar of this Court wherein he denied that any sum of Rs 2000 had been left with him by the complainant for depositing as security amount in the aforementioned special leave petition. By his letter dated 12-8-1980, the Registrar of the Supreme Court sent the original letter dated 7-2-1980, submitted by the complainant to the Secretary, Bar Council of Delhi. In the said letter it was stated that according to the counterfoil Receipt No. 611334 had been issued on 3-3-1978 to Shri O.P. Rana, Advocate in token of receipt of a cheque for Rs 121.50p. from him towards the rent of Chamber No. 55 of the Supreme Court Lawyers' Chambers, and the question of issuing the said receipt to the appellant did not arise at all and that there cannot be any question of security being deposited in a special leave petition which is yet to be admitted. It was also stated that since the receipt issued by the Registry for a particular purpose had been wrongfully taken and tampered with and used as a receipt issued in a case in which no deposit was required to be made or has been made, the matter was being referred to the State Bar Council for such further action as may be considered proper in the circumstances of the case. After receipt of the said letter, the Delhi Bar Council treated the letter of the complainant dated 7-2-1980 as a complaint and initiated proceedings against the appellant by issuing a show-cause notice dated 8-1-1981. The appellant submitted his reply dated 3-2-1981 wherein he reiterated the stand taken by him in his letter dated 11-6-1980 addressed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Disciplinary Committee of the Delhi Bar Council recorded the statements of S.L. Sethi, Cashier, Supreme Court, the complainant Nawal Kishore and Shri Ashok Kumar Mishra, Advocate. The statement of the appellant had been partly recorded and the matter was fixed for his cross-examination on 4-11-1981 on which date he absented himself and thereupon an ex parte order was passed against the appellant by the Delhi Bar Council. On appeal the said order was set aside by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India and the proceedings thereafter stood transferred to the Bar Council of India under Section 36-B of the Act. The Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India, after completion of the cross-examination of the appellant, heard the appellant and has passed the impugned order wherein it has been found that the following circumstances have been made out:
(i) Receipt No. 611334 is a forged document.
(ii) The statement of Nawal Kishore that he paid Rs 2000 to the appellant as demanded by the appellant through letter written by Balaram describing himself as PA to the appellant was acceptable.
(iii) The suggestion that Balaram was a pairokar of Nawal Kishore could not be accepted since Nawal Kishore has denied it and Balaram would not have described himself as PA to the appellant in the letter to Nawal Kishore if in fact he was a pairokar of Nawal Kishore.
(iv) Nawal Kishore became suspicious and showed the receipt given to him by the appellant to Shri Garg who on verification from the Cash Section of the Supreme Court found that the receipt was a forged document and thereupon the matter was reported to the Registrar.
3. The Disciplinary Committee has, in this context, pointed out:
(a) When the Registrar asked the appellant's explanation, in the first instance, the appellant did not deny the allegations and asked for looking in the records of the Supreme Court. With his experience as an Advocate-on-Record the appellant would have immediately denied the allegation if in fact he had not obtained the sum of Rs 2000 and if in fact he had not given the receipt to Nawal Kishore.
(b) Nawal Kishore had stated that the appellant advised him to take back his complaint from the Registry of the Supreme Court and that the appellant would return the amount due to Nawal Kishore but Nawal Kishore had expressed his inability to do so. The appellant had not cross-examined Nawal Kishore on this point.
4. We have heard the appellant, who has appeared in person, in support of the appeal. He has submitted that the receipt had been fabricated by the complainant. The further submission of the appellant is that the complainant did not have the necessary funds and his statement that he had paid Rs 2000 to the appellant for depositing the court fee should not be accepted. The appellant has invited our attention to the statement of the complainant wherein he stated that he had borrowed Rs 2000 from his brother Kamal Kishore. It has been urged that since Kamal Kishore has not been examined the said statement of the complainant should not be believed. We do not find any merit in these submissions of the appellant. The statement of the complainant has been fully considered by the Disciplinary Committee and has been found acceptable. We have also perused the statement of the complainant. We are in agreement with the assessment of the evidence of the complainant by the Disciplinary Committee. We are unable to discard the testimony of the complainant merely because he has stated that he had borrowed Rs 2000 from his brother Kamal Kishore who has not been examined in support of the said statement. During the course of cross-examination no question was put to the complainant disputing the correctness of the aforesaid statement about his having borrowed Rs 2000 from his brother Kamal Kishore.
5. We are also unable to accept the contention of the appellant that Balaram had nothing to do with him. The letter dated 7-9-1979 from Balaram to the complainant was on the letterhead of the appellant and in the said letter Balaram has described himself as PA to the appellant. During the course of cross-examination the complainant has denied that Balaram was his pairokar and has stated that he had seen Balaram sitting in the chamber of the appellant doing typing and other work in the chamber. There is no reason why the said statement of the complainant should not be accepted.
6. Having considered the matter in the light of the submissions of the appellant, we are of the view that no fault can be found with the conclusion arrived at by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India. We, therefore, do not find any merit in the appeal and the same is accordingly dismissed. No order as to costs.