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Case Brief: On Kaushal Kishore Awasthi v/s Balwant Singh Thakur

Case title: Kaushal Kishore Awasthi v. Balwant Singh Thakur and Ors.
Case Citation: AIR 2018 SC 199
Bench: A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ.
Jurisdiction: Section 35 of Advocates act

Facts of the case:
In the case the complainant accused the appellant, an advocate, of professional misconduct in a complaint that was submitted to the Chhattisgarh Bar Council. The conflict stemmed from an ancestral property dispute among the family, which resulted in a false sale deed. In a lawsuit to void the deed and get a beneficial court decision the appellant won against the complainant.

  • The complaint then made an attempt, citing lack of funds, to sell his share of the property. Citing an unpaid amount owed by the complainant, the appellant objected to the sale. The appellant was found guilty of misconduct by the Bar Council despite the objection, and his license was suspended for a period of two years.
  • On appeal, the Supreme Court stated that the disciplinary proceedings were unlawful, deciding in favor of the appellant and overturning the suspension order.

Issues raised before the court:

  • Whether the advocate's intervention in a sale deed registration that was unrelated to any pending legal proceedings to be considered professional misconduct?
Contentions on behalf of appellant Contention on behalf of Respondent
The contention for the appellant was that the Advocates Act and its regulations did not apply to the behaviors that were the subject of the complaint. They underlined that the appellant's challenge to the sale deed's registration was from a private dispute between the parties, not from his actions as an advocate. The complaint's inability to pay a debt owing to the appellant which had nothing to do with any existing legal proceedings. As a result, State Bar Council lacked jurisdiction and had improperly started disciplinary procedures. The contention for the respondent was that the Advocates Act and its regulations apply to the behaviors that were the subject of the complaint, making them professional misconduct. They argued that the complainant's ability to sell his property was impeded by the appellant's action

Observations The Advocates Act's Section 35, which specifies penalties for advocates found guilty of misconduct, was emphasized by the ruling. It focused on Rule 22 of Chapter II of the Bar Council of India's (BCI) Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette, which is outlined in Section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act.
  • The decision clarified that the appellant's disciplinary action was the result of complaints voiced during a private property transaction that had nothing to do with court proceedings.
  • As a result, the ruling declared that the State Bar Council's disciplinary action was unjustified and without authority. The court allowed the appeal, putting aside the challenged decisions imposed by the Bar Council of India.
Ration Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and Rule 22 under Chapter II of the Act are pivotal in order to determine the professional conduct and the appellant truncation related to private property does not fall under the scope of professional misconduct under these provisions.
Judgement According to Section 35 and Rule 22 of the Advocates Act, 1961, the objection made did not amount to professional misconduct, therefore the disciplinary proceedings against the appellant were ruled unlawful and without jurisdiction.

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