SC Confirms Suspension of Advocate for Professional Misconduct as advocate was Acting as Real Estate Agent

LI Network

Published on: 04  September 2023 at 12:04 IST

The Supreme Court recently upheld a decision by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to suspend an advocate for five years due to severe professional misconduct.

It came to light that the advocate had obtained a General Power of Attorney from their own client in a property-related case and subsequently sold the property.

The bench, consisting of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal, heard an appeal challenging the BCI’s decision to suspend the advocate for five years on grounds of professional misconduct.

The disciplinary action arose from an investigation conducted by the Bar Council.

The Bar Council determined that this case involved professional misconduct because the appellant had unquestionably obtained a General Power of Attorney from their client regarding the property that was the subject of the lawsuit in which the appellant was representing the client. Additionally, the appellant failed to provide any evidence to demonstrate that the consideration received by them was transferred to the client.

In the appellant’s response before the disciplinary committee, they stated, “The Respondent submits that he was also acting as the business of Real-Estate for selling and buying the properties as a Real-Estate Agent… accordingly the Respondent arranged to sell her half site and consideration amount was paid to her in cash and she paid the Respondent 2% commission for the sale of the property and it was done as Real-Estate Agent, not as an Advocate.”

The Supreme Court determined that the appellant’s statement indicated that they were acting as a Real Estate Agent while simultaneously practicing as an Advocate, which amounted to professional misconduct.

“The appellant himself has come out with a case that while practicing as an advocate, he was also carrying on a business of selling and buying the properties as a real estate Agent.

The appellant has also stated that the transaction with his client was in his capacity as a real estate Agent. Thus, the statement made by the appellant on oath makes out a case of gross professional misconduct on his part apart from the misconduct already held as proved by the impugned order. Therefore, the direction to suspend him as an Advocate for five years is fully justified,” observed the Court.

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