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Are The Actions Of Advocate PD Gupta Constituting Misconduct: Analysis of PD Gupta v/s Ram Murti , 1997 in the context of professional ethics

Misconduct in any field is defined as an unethical behaviour through the perspective of ethics. According to Black Law's definition, misconduct is defined as a transgression committed via the commission of an act that is either banned or unlawful. The profession of advocate is likewise subject to such form of misconducts on their side, although the Advocates Act 1961 defines misconduct as "unprofessional behaviour".

Professional ethics is a set of standards that everyone joining the legal profession is anticipated and expected to follow. The importance of ethics in sustaining the composure of legal practise cannot be overstated. These principles assist the lawyer in maintaining a good and honourable relationship with the Bar and Bench, the client, and the witness, as well as in promoting justice.

In the present case of PD Gupta v/s Ram Murthi 1997, PD Gupta is the advocate of Vidyawati, one who claims right over immovable estate of the deceased Srikishan Das. He being well aware of the facts and circumstances of the case goes forward to purchase a part of the disputed suit. This in the eyes of court amounts to unprofessional behaviour and exercising undue influence over his client.

Although, PD Gupta contended that their was no external pressure on Vidya wati to execute the sale deeds of him and his son-in-law and further claims that Ram Murti, the one who filed a complaint against him to buy the disputed property and claims to be the rightful heir of Srikishan Das has malafide intentions and he himself has no title to Srikishan Das's property.

However the judgement by the Bar Council of India was against the actions of PD Gupta. It stated that PD Gupta knowning the facts and circumstances of the case still goes on to purchase the disputed suit , therefore his conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer and against professional ethics , as a punishment for which he was suspended from practice for one year. PD Gupta had not only purchased property for himself but also made his son-in-law purchase the same, by reselling the property he also had gains out of it.

Brief Facts And Issues
  1. After the death of one Srikishan Das in the year 1980, one Miss Vidyawati, claiming to be his sister and the only legal successor, sought to manage the estate of the deceased Srikishan Das in the District Court of Delhi under Section 276 of the Indian Succession Act. Vidyawati's motion was disputed by another Mr. Ramamurthi and three others who claim to be Srikishan Das' legal heirs and produced three separate wills to prove it.
  2. This matter in regards to claiming Srikishan Das's property is transferred from the district court Delhi to High court of Delhi and is still pending and awaiting adjudication. PD Gupta , the appellant in this case , is the advocate of Miss Vidyawati, and had been her counseller since the beginning of the suit. Not going deep into the matter of property and the contentions filed by Vidyawati and Ramamurthi , a complaint was filed by Ramamurthi (the respondent in the present case) against the misconduct of PD Gupta the advocate of Vidyawati , for his act of purchasing the ground floor of the property in dispute and immediately reselling it.
  3. Although PD Gupta was well aware of the doubt cast on Miss Vidyawati regarding her claim of being Srikishan Das's legal heir or not , he still went forward in purchasing the property.It is to be noted that not only PD Gupta purchased a part of the property but also made his son-in-law to do so.
  4. PD Gupta purchased the property in a mere sum of 1,80,000 in the year 1982. PD Gupta also claims to know Vidyawati when Srikishan Das was alive.The agreement to sell was entered into by both of them as for back in September 1980 and he kept advancing her money as if he knew that vidyawati would take contradictory stands in relation to her relationship with Srikishan Das.
  5. Some important facts are also that. Vidya Wati has died, and she is said to have been survived by her only daughter Maya Devi, who has also died. Vidya Wati allegedly made a will in favour of her grandson Anand Prakash Bansal, who is said to be the son of the deceased. Maya Devi bequeathed all her possessions to him. Vidya Wati passed away on October 26, 1991, and Maya Devi passed away on April 13, 1992. According to reports, P.P. Bansal has been serving as Vidya Wati's General Counsel and directing P.D. Gupta.

  • In view of the aforementioned circumstances is P.D. Gupta guilty of professional or other misconduct and if so is the sentence handed to him is disproportionate to the professional or other misconduct of which he has been found guilty?

Legal Aspects
Misconduct, in basic terms and terminology, refers to a behaviour that is inappropriate or unexpected in a certain sector. Law is regarded as one of the most sacred and divine professions since it assists us in seeking justice. Nonetheless, the formula of misconduct applies here as well; attorneys and advocates must occasionally use unprofessional techniques that result in misconduct.

Our country's attorneys and advocates are regulated by two statutory entities: the Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils. These bodies govern and steer the advocates when they wander from the road of rectitude that has been established for them. These institutions have established specific norms and codes of behaviour that attorneys and advocates are expected to follow. The Advocates Act 1961, on the other hand, offers us with profession on how to consider the job of code of conduct and numerous important topics surrounding the advocates.

Section 35 of the Advocates Act 1961 addresses professional misconduct by attorneys and advocates in Indian territory.

After a complaint is filed against an advocate for professional misconduct, the matter is sent to a disciplinary commission, which decides the culpability of the advocate, following which a show cause notice is delivered to the advocate and advocate general of the state, followed by argument by both sides.

The disciplinary committee has several powers that it can use, including the following:
  1. It can reprimand the advocate.
  2. Has the authority to suspend the advocate for as long as it sees proper.
  3. May also delete the advocate's name from the state list of advocates.
The Bar Council of India is empowered under section 49 to frame rules and standards dealing with professional ethics and misconduct.

In this specific case, in my opinion, the decision made by the Supreme Court and the Honorable Bar Council against PD Gupta was correct, and I firmly endorse it. Since PD Gupta has been a practising attorney for a while, it is reasonable to assume that he is aware of the fact that purchasing a disputed suit would amount to many legal assumptions, such as using undue influence.

Nevertheless, he proceeded to purchase the property at a throwaway price and joined the lawsuit.. Furthermore, PD Gupta's assertion that because he sold the property, he is no longer guilty of any wrongdoing is incorrect because the issue here was his action, and anything once accomplished cannot be undone. As an advocate, he was entrusted with the obligation of being fair during the trial. His job was not only to be fair to his client, but also to the opposing side.

But his acts tainted the entire process of administering justice. He was charged with contaminating the administration of justice under Section 35 of the Advocates Act 1961. Mr YK Jain the experienced counsel standing for the appellant PD Gupta had also made comments , in reference to rescuing PD Gupta from further procedures and actions.

However there was material discovered in such dispute had PD Gupta sold the same property back to Vidya Wati and had the sale deed revoked in his favour, something may have been stated, but he tried to benefit from the property by further reselling it, revealing PD Gupta's deception. As a result, the accusations filed against him to prevent him from practising for a year are correct and justified.

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