On Monday, 6th September 2021, the High Court of Kerala during the ongoing hearing in the application of anticipatory bail for the lawyer pretending to be an advocate stated to the applicant’s council that the applicant should not be referred to as an advocate.
Justice Shircy V., who was hearing the matter told the counsel representing the applicant that he must not use the term “advocate” as she is not a lawyer and therefore he told the counsel to not use the term in his submissions.
This matter took place as a woman named Sessy Xavier impersonated to be an advocate without the qualifications required to be an advocate.
The applicant had practised in the court for over two years and enrolled in the State Bar Council. She had not only represented various parties in the court of law at various instances but was also appointed as the Advocate Commissioner in few cases.
It is alleged that in 2021, she contested in the Bar Association Elections and was elected as the librarian.
However, on 15th July, 2021 the Bar Association received an anonymous letter that stated that the applicant was not a law graduate and did not have a LL.B degree.
As the Bar Association looked into the matter it was found that the enrollment number which the applicant had provided to the Bar Association belonged to an advocate practising in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Alappuzha Bar Association Secretary Abhilash Soman, filed a complaint with the police under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the basis of Section 417 for cheating, 419 for cheating by impersonation and 420 for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, which is a non-bailable offence unlike the other two offences (417 and 419).
Advocate B. Pramod who opposed this application, submitted that he was not the de facto complainant. However, the Bar Association was not interested in the proceedings due to political considerations, but the fact that he was a member of the association was used as a reason for him approaching the court personally.
CONTENTIONS OF THE APPLICANT
The applicant’s counsel, Adv. Roy Chacko argued that there is no reason for rejecting an anticipatory bail unless there is a possibility that the accused may tamper with the evidence or the Investigation Officer would need the accused in custody for interrogation.
The counsel further argued that since all the evidence was already with the Bar Association, it could be retrieved from there and implied with his statements that there was no need for custodial interrogation.
On the basis of these arguments, the counsel held that anticipatory bail can be granted.
CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT
Advocate B. Pramod, who was allowed as the third respondent in the case, implied through his statements to enrol into the Bar Association and serve as an advocate the applicant would have to submit certain arguments such as the enrollment certificate and other documents and therefore she may have produced forged documents and therefore anticipatory bail could not be granted to the applicant.
The counsel of the applicant tried to counter the arguments by saying that there were no records of the same and the fault in verifying the applicant’s enrollment number could have been made by the Secretary of the Council.
The court agreed with Advocate B. Pramod and held that it is implied that she must have produced forged documents in order to convince the bar association that she is an advocate.
The matter of impersonation against Sessy Xavier, under the above-mentioned charges will be heard elaborately on 8th September, 2021.