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A litigant can disown his advocate at any time and seek relief from court!

A litigant can disown his advocate at any time and seek relief from court!

Mehendara P Shah vs Gurupreet Kamaljeet and others

Mumbai HC



About/from the judgment:

Whether Litigant Can Disown His Advocate at any Time and Seek Relief from Court?


The advocate is the agent of the party. His acts and statements, made within the limits of authority given to him, are the acts and statements of the principal i.e. the party who engaged him. It is true that in certain situations, the Court may, in the interest of justice, set a side a dismissal order or an exparte decree notwithstanding the negligence and/or misdemeanour of the advocate where it finds that the client was an innocent litigant but there is not such absolute rule that a party can disown its advocate at any time and seek relief. No such absolute immunity can be recognised. Such an absolute rule would make the working of the system extremely difficult. The observations made in 'Rafiq' must be understood in the facts and circumstances of that case and cannot be understood as an absolute proposition. As we have mentioned hereinabove, this was an ongoing suit posted for final hearing after a lapse of seven years of its institution. It was not a second appeal filed by a villager residing away from the city, where the Court is located. The defendant is also not a rustic ignorant villager but a private limited company with its headoffice at Calcutta itself and managed by educated businessmen who know where their interest lies. It is evident that when their applications were not disposed of before taking up the suit for final hewing they felt piqued and refused to appear before the court. May be, it was part of their delaying tactics as alleged by the plaintiff. May be not. But one thing is clear they 'chose to noncooperate with the court. Having adopted such a stand towards the Court, the defendant has no right to ask its indulgence. Putting the entire blame upon the advocate and trying to make it out as if they were totally unaware of the nature or significance of the proceedings is a theory which cannot be accepted and ought not to have been accepted.

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