The Delhi High Court in a case relating to the assault and wrongful restraint of a lawyer has observed that lawyers are the powerful pillars of the judicial adjudicatory process and therefore, their duty towards a client must be respected by all.

A Single Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma held, “A lawyer representing her client, is only carrying out her duties and she cannot be presumed to have any personal enmity or grudge against the complainant in case she is representing an accused or against an accused, if she is representing the complainant. The lawyers are officers of the Court and should not be presumed to be only defending the party concerned as part of their duty. They are an essential and powerful pillar of judicial adjudicatory process and therefore, their duty towards a client has to be respected by all concerned. The lawyers are bound by their commitment to the duties cast on them by Part VI (Rules Governing Advocates), Chapter II (Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette) of Bar Council of India Rules which define their duties towards the Court, Client, Opponent and Colleagues.”

The Bench said that one of the fundamental principles of legal representation by a lawyer is that lawyers do not allow personal biases or prejudices to influence or interfere with their professional obligations and their responsibility to provide representation and legal assistance to their client to uphold the principles of fairness and justice.

“They are supposed to act in the best interests of their clients and vigorously advocate for their positions, while still maintaining a sense of fairness and respect for the legal process”, also said the Court.

Advocate R.D. Rana represented the petitioner while APP Satish Kumar and Advocate Vipul Chaudhary represented the respondents.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner sought setting aside of the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge (NDPS) whereby the charges were framed under Sections 341, 323, and 506 of the IPC. An FIR was registered on a complaint of a practising advocate who had alleged that in the year 2017, she had appeared in Saket Court with her client and after hearing the case, the petitioner started abusing and misbehaving with her in the court premises.

When she was going towards her chamber along with the client, the petitioner stopped, beaten, and threatened her. It was also alleged that the petitioner, after having restrained her, had misbehaved with her and had bitten her hand badly, and hence, a case was filed against the petitioner.

The High Court in the above regard noted, “… to hold that the present complaint is false only because it is lodged by a lawyer, who was representing a client against whom the assaulter had lodged a complaint a few years back, will be, to say the least, unreasonable and absurd. In case, such a finding is returned by this Court, Advocates will not be able to work or discharge their professional duties without fear. In such a scenario, even if a person injures or assaults an advocate or a lawyer he will seek protection under a plea that the advocate has lodged complaint on behalf of her client.”

The Court observed that any complaint received by the police or the Court has to be seen, appreciated, and adjudicated upon irrespective of the financial or professional nature or status of either the complainant or the accused and that a person’s financial position or profession cannot become a basis for holding that due to their such profession or position, the complaint lodged is false even if in reality they have been assaulted and injured.

“… powers of the Court at the time of framing of charge are limited to the extent of guidelines laid in this regard by various judicial precedents. … In view of the foregoing discussion, this Court finds no reasons to interfere with the impugned order dated 22.05.2019 passed by learned ASJ”, held the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Dhanpati @ Dhanwanti v. The State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:3806)

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