The Karnataka High Court has held that the client cannot file a fraud case against advocate merely for an unfavourable order passed by court.
A private complaint was filed by the respondent alleging that the petitioner has held out himself to be a very Senior Advocate in Bangalore and having connections with Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and had represented that he could put across the complainant to such Senior Advocates who could represent the matter and obtain favourable orders.
It was on that basis, various amounts were paid to the petitioner to be paid to the Advocate appearing before the Supreme Court as also to enable the petitioner to travel to the Supreme Court and appear in the matter.
It was alleged that when the matter was taken up for hearing before the Apex Court and at the end of the day when the complainant called the petitioner enquiring about the status of the matter, the petitioner did not inform him properly and as such, the complainant suspected the bonafides of the petitioner and it is on that basis a criminal complaint came to filed in the aforesaid PCR seeking for action to be taken against the petitioner.
G.Krishnamurthy, Senior counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has only discharged his duties as an Advocate and has appeared in the matter along with the counsel before the Apex Court. The orders that may be passed by the Apex Court or any other Court is left to the Court. There is only an effort which would be made by a counsel to try and get favourable orders and that is the only promise that was made, which cannot amount to an offence under Section 406 and 420 of the IPC in as much as the petitioner is only discharging his professional functions and there is no inducement as such made by the petitioner.
Thontadharya R.K., counsel appearing for the respondent contended that a huge amount of Rs.14,60,000 was made payment for the conduct of the matter before the Apex Court and on that day, the matter after hearing was only adjourned and no favourable orders were passed. Therefore, offences under Sections 406 and 420 have been committed.
The single bench of Justice Suraj Govindraj has observed that merely because a client were not to succeed in the matter and favourable orders were not passed in favour of that particular client, the said client cannot make out a case that there is a fraud which has been committed by the Advocate and offence under Sections 406 and 420 of IPC which has been committed by an Advocate. That would lead to disastrous consequences. It is for all litigants to understand that an Advocate can only make best efforts in the matter and the case would be decided on the basis of merits. In an Adversarial system like that in our Country where one party initiates a litigation against the other it is bound to happen that one will win and other will lose which is on the basis of the facts of the case and the law applicable.
The court stated that whoever the Advocate may be, the outcome depends on the facts and the law applicable thereto. Hence, the payment of fees, the amount of fees is also not relevant for the outcome of the matter that is a private matter between the client and the Advocate.
Case title: Mr K S Mahadevan v/s Mr Cyprian Menezes and Anr.
Citation: Writ petition no. 54069 of 2017 (gm-res)