Gross Professional Misconduct: SC suspends an advocate for a term of five years who acts as a real estate agent and sold suit property of client

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In a recent order passed by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) including Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Abhay S Oka, the top Court upheld the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) decision to suspend the five-year suspension of an advocate for gross professional misconduct. The issue arose when he admitted that “he had taken a general Power of Attorney from his own client in respect of the property which was the subject matter of the suit in which the appellant was representing him.” During the proceedings before the BCI, “the appellant could not produce any evidence to show that the consideration received by him was paid over to his client.” 

The order passed by the SC clearly mentioned the paragraph that was submitted by the appellant before the Disciplinary Committee of the BCI. It reads, “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. In that context, the Complainant approached the Respondent for a disposal of the half-site, and as per the instructions she executed Power of Attorney stating that, and has a dispute with her family members and due to her old age she requested the Respondent to sell her half site and 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 sale of the property and it was done as Real-Estate Agent not as an Advocate.”

Considering this, the SC bench ordered, “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…Therefore, the direction to suspend him as an advocate for five years is fully justified.” The appeal before the bench was dismissed.

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