|COURT:||Karnataka High Court|
|CORAM:||H. G. Ramesh J, John Michael Cunha J|
|SECTION(S):||Advocates Act 1972|
|CATCH WORDS:||Advocates, vakalatnama|
|COUNSEL:||Ajith Anand Shetty|
|DATE:||December 2, 2016 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||May 4, 2017 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to download the file in pdf format|
|NOC from Advocate to appoint new advocate: A litigant has the absolute right to appoint an advocate of his choice and to terminate his services any time and for whatever reason. There is no concept of an "irrevocable vakalatnama". A party has the absolute freedom to change his advocate. Fairness demands that the party should inform his advocate already on record though this is not a condition precedent to appoint a new advocate. The Registry cannot insist on a NOC from the old advocate and refuse to take the new vakalatnama on record|
The High Court had to consider whether vakalatnama filed by a new advocate is to be accepted in the absence of ‘no objection’ of the advocate already on record. HELD by the High Court:
(i) It is clear from the observations in R.D.Saxena v. Balaram Prasad Sharma [AIR 2000 SC 2912] and in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. A.K.Saxena [AIR 2004 SC 311] and C.V.Sudhindra & Ors. vs M/s Divine Light School for Blind & Ors. [ILR 2008 KAR 3983] that a party to litigation has an absolute right to appoint an advocate of his choice, to terminate his services, and to appoint a new advocate. A party has the freedom to change his advocate any time and for whatever reason. However, fairness demands that the party should inform his advocate already on record, though this is not a condition precedent to appoint a new advocate.
(ii) There is nothing known as irrevocable vakalatnama. The right of a party to withdraw vakalatnama or authorization given to an advocate is absolute. Hence, a party may discharge his advocate any time, with or without cause by withdrawing his vakalatnama or authorization. On discharging the advocate, the party has the right to have the case file returned to him from the advocate, and any refusal by the advocate to return the file amounts to misconduct under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961. In any proceeding, including civil and criminal, a party has an absolute right to appoint a new Advocate. Under no circumstance, a party can be denied of his right to appoint a new advocate of his choice. Therefore, it follows that any rule or law imposing restriction on the said right can’t be construed as mandatory. Accordingly, Courts, Tribunals or other authorities shall not ask for ‘no objection’ of the advocate already on record, to accept the vakalatnama filed by a new advocate.
(iii) As observed in the decisions referred to above, if an Advocate is discharged by his client and if he has any genuine claim against his client relating to the fee payable to him, the appropriate course for him is to return the brief and to agitate his claim in an appropriate forum, in accordance with law.
(iv) As stated above, under no circumstance, a party can be denied of his right to appoint a new advocate of his choice. The right is absolute and not conditional. Hence, the objection raised by the Registry on the vakalatnama is overruled. Hereafter, the Registry shall not ask for ‘no objection’ of the advocate already on record, to accept the vakalatnama filed by a new Advocate.