The Delhi High Court has quashed the FIR registered against a law intern who appeared as a proxy counsel.

The bench of Justice Anish Dayal observed that law interns who are merely students should be counselled, properly informed and instructed, rather than FIRs being registered against them.

In this case, a law intern had appeared before a Delhi Court seeking adjournment on the behalf of the Advocate under whom he was practicing.

The presiding officer queried the Intern whether he was appearing as main counsel or proxy and in his nervousness, he submitted that he was a “proxy”.

He was under the mistaken impression that a “proxy” is somebody who seeks an adjournment and was not sure about the ramifications of the same.

Upset by the situation, the presiding officer issued directions to place a copy of the Court proceedings with the ID proof of the Intern before the Principal District and Sessions Judge, South West Dwarka, for information.

Pursuant to the same the intern appeared before the Principal District and Sessions Judge and apprised him about the facts following which the Judge declined to take any legal action.

However, upon the complaint of Secretary, Dwarka Court Bar Association, the impugned FIR got registered.

Advocates Sourabh Gupta and Puneet Yadav appeared for the petitioner-intern whereas Rahul Tyagi, ASC appeared for the State.

The Court noted that it was not a situation where an intern was wearing the robes of an Advocate or had stated that he was an Advocate.

The Court also observed that petitioner-intern was confused, perplexed and unable to handle the situation which presented before him.

“It is evident that a law student cannot appear as a counsel or a proxy counsel in any matter before a Court of law, prior to being properly enrolled by a Bar Council and being admitted to the bar. However, in these facts and circumstances, it cannot be said it was a case of malintent which could implicate the petitioner for offences under the Indian Penal Code.”, the Court noted.

The Court remarked that a law intern is a student who is in the process of understanding the practice and procedures of the Court and therefore it is also the duty of the institution to take adequate steps to facilitate their education and training and not simply punish them for these inadvertent acts.

As per the Court’s directions, the petitioner-intern filed an undertaking by way of an affidavit undertaking that he will not appear or project himself as a lawyer in any proceeding before the Court till he gets duly enrolled an Advocate.

Accordingly, the FIR was quashed by the Court.

Cause Title- Rajesh Sharma v. State of NCT Delhi & Anr.

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