In an appeal case of Madhavendra L Bhatnagar v. Bhavna Lall, the top court has pulled up a lawyer who allegedly speculated about the outcome of a pending appeal before it, in an advice to his client.
The three judge bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari directed the party to file an affidavit and disclose the name of the the said advocate from India and said:
“Prima facie, this, in our opinion, is bordering on professional misconduct and needs to be proceeded with.”
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE:
The trial court dismissed an application filed by plaintiff, i.e. the husband seeking interim anti-suit injunction against his wife restraining her from initiating any proceedings for divorce against him in Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County. According to the appellant, the parties had never resided in Arizona. Both the parties are Hindu and were married under the Hindu law. The child was also born in California.
When the matter went to the High Court at the instance of the appellant, even the High Court proceeded on an incorrect basis, that the courts in India could adjudicate the controversy between the parties, only after the Superior Court of Arizona would pass an order in the pending proceedings.
DECISION BY SUPREME COURT:
The plaintiff then preferred an appeal in the apex court, which stated that:
“In our opinion, both the Trial Court and the High Court mis-applied the legal position and committed manifest error, in rejecting the ad-interim relief claimed by the appellant against the respondent during the pendency of the proceedings between the parties before the Court at Bhopal.”
The Supreme Court then granted interim relief to the wife, including to the liberty to restrain the respondent from proceeding with the pending suit instituted by her in the Superior Court of Arizona or to file any other proceedings.
During the hearing, the disconcerting aspect about the counsel was brought to the notice of the court, which said:
“We fail to understand as to how an advocate appearing in the matter or instructing the litigant who is party before the Supreme Court of India would be in a position to prejudge the outcome of the proceedings or if we may say so speculate about the outcome thereof.”
The Apex court further said that the matter needs to be proceeded with against the lawyer. And that the respondent shall file affidavit within two weeks and the suo moto proceedings to be notified by the Registry on 05.02.2021