Another gem of a judgment from Justice B. SIVA SANKARA RAO where in he allowed examination of accused via SkypeSirangai Shoba @ Shoba Munnuri Vs Sirangi Muralidhar Rao on 19 October, 2016
Hon’ble of Andhra Pradesh High Court has allowed permission for a GPA of a petitioner, to represent the petitioner and depose on his behalf in the court of law.
In view of the above clear cut pronouncement, it is evident that a GPA holder can depose and also lead evidence on behalf of his principal.
Learned Family Court Judge also appears to have entertained an apprehension as to whether the Family Court can entertain an application presented by a legal practitioner in view of the provision contained in Section 13 of the Family Courts Act, 1984.
From the very preamble of the Family Courts Act, 1984, one would gather that every endeavour is required to be made by the Family Court to assist the parties in arriving at a speedy settlement of disputes relating to the marriage and/or family affairs. That explains the reason Section 9 of the said Act provided for an appropriate legal environment for settlement of the disputes in an amicable manner. The parties are not only required to be assisted, but also required to be persuaded by the Judge in arriving at a settlement while keeping in view the importance of protecting and preserving the institution of the marriage between the parties. To the extent possible, the Family Court is required to utilize its skills and wisdom gained over long period of time by careful study of the ills of the society and then finding suitable cure for them and hence, the Family court must try to bring about a reconciliation of the disagreements persisting between the parties. However, when two parties to a marriage come before a Family Court and ask for dissolution of their marriage by mutual consent under Section 13-B of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Court is required to adjourn the motion moved by both parties by a period not earlier than six months, as per sub Section 2 of Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act. Further, Sub Section 2 requires that the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such enquiry as it thinks fit with regard to the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of such decree. Therefore, there may have been a genuine apprehension in the mind of the Family Court Judge as to whether there is any possibility of reconciliation between the parties or change of mind with regard to consent expressed earlier for such dissolution, when the petition is returned by it.
Keeping the very object behind the Family Courts Act, 1984, read with the spirit behind Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, the Family Court could have entertained the interlocutory application in as much as legal practitioners are not totally forbidden from rendering assistance to the Family Court. One of the reasons why Section 13 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, declared that no party to a suit or proceeding shall be entitled as of right to be represented by a legal practitioner sans technicalities or legal necessities, the parties must be helped by the Court to reconcile the disputes persisting between them. Unlike a traditional setup of the Court, where the Presiding Judge has to maintain not only an equiy distance between the parties to a lis, but also maintain a sense of impartiality towards the cause of both sides and essentially was required to maintain an arms length distance from the parties, in a Family Court, the Judge is donning the robes of a facilitator, a mentor and an expert counselor. A slight tilt in the approach to one of the parties in a Family Court, depending upon the facts and circumstances prevailing in the case and if the ends of justice would be better served by dosing so, is allowable. The emphasis being laid upon essentially preserving the institution and interest of the marriage and the welfare and well-being of the parties etc. Hence, the Family Court is entitled to receive, examine and act upon an affidavit filed by one of the parties before it, acting through a GPA. A petition moved in that regard is maintainable.
Dasam Vijay Rama Rao Vs M.Sai Sri on 17 June, 2015
I am, therefore, of the opinion that the Family Courts are entitled to ascertain the views of the parties and for that purpose adjourning a case by a reasonable period is not to be frowned upon. But, however, if one of the parties, like in the present case, appears before the Family court and expresses no objection for an affidavit of the other party to be taken on record and is not desirous of cross examining the deponent of the affidavit, the Family Court cam entertain, unhesitatingly any such move/application.
Increasingly Family Courts have been noticing that one of the parties is stationed abroad. It may not be always possible for such parties to undertake trip to India, for variety of good reasons. On the intended day of examination of a particular party, the proceedings may not go on, or even get completed possibly, sometimes due to preoccupation with any other more pressing work in the Court. But, however, technology, particularly, in the Information sector has improved by leaps and bounds. Courts in India are also making efforts to put to use the technologies available. ‘Skype’ is one such facility, which is easily available. Therefore, the Family Courts are justified in seeking the assistance of any practicing lawyer to provide the necessary skype facility in any particular case. For that purpose, the parties can be permitted to be represented by a legal practitioner, who can bring a mobile device. By using the skype technology, parties who are staying abroad can not only be identified by the Family Court, but also enquired
about the free will and consent of such party. This will enable the litigation costs to be reduced greatly and will also save precious time of the Court. Further, the other party available in the Court can also help the Court in not only identifying the other party, but would be able to ascertain the required information.
Citations : [2015 ALD 4 757], [2015 ALT 5 150], [2015 AIR AP 191]
Other Sources :
Hon’ble Madras High Court has permitted a son, who is not a advocate, to represent his sick father in a case of bail petition.Mukanchand Bothra Vs Inspector of Police on 25 January, 2018
The Apex Court held as follows in regards to the right or lack thereof of a party to go as in-person in a case in a court. Legendary Judge Krishnaiyer, V.R. has allowed permission to a friend of a Plaintiff, who is not a advocate, to plead his case in court of law.
“1. A private person who is not an Advocate, has no right to barge into Court and claim to argue for a party. He must get the prior permission of the Court for which the motion must come from the party himself. It is open to the Court to grant or withhold permission in its discretion. In fact, the Court may even after grant of permission, withdraw it half-way through if the representative proves himself reprehensible. The antecedents, the relationship, and reasons for requisitioning the services of the private person and a variety of other circumstances must be gathered before grant or refusal of permission.
2. The Advocates are entitled as of right to practice in this Court under S. 30(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 subject to the reasonable restriction provided under s. 29 of that Act viz. that the only class of persons entitled to practice the profession of law shall be advocates. Even so, it is open to a party, who is unable for some reason or the other to present his case adequately, to seek the help of another person in his behalf. To negative such a plea may be denying justice altogether in certain cases, especially in a land of illiteracy and indigence and judicial processes of sophisticated nature…………….
3. A comprehensive programme of free legal services, is in a sense,a serious obligation of the State if the rule of law were to receive vitality in its observance. Until then, parties should appear through advocates, and where they are not represented by one such, through some chosen friend. Such other person cannot practice the profession of habitually representing parties in Court. If a non-advocate pecialises in practicing in Court, professionally he will be violating the text of the interdict in the Advocates Act, which the Court cannot allow him to do so. Nevertheless it is open to a person who is a party to a proceeding to get himself represented by a non-advocate in a particular instance or case. Practicing a profession means something very different from representing some friend or relation on one occasion or in one case or on a few occasions ,or in a few cases. “
Harishankar Rastogi Vs Girdhari Sharma And Anr on 13 March, 1978
Citation: [1977 ACR SC 363], [1978 AIR SC 1019], [1978 SCC 2 165], [1978 SCC CRI 168], [1978 SCR 3 493], [1978 ALR 4 353], [1978 CAR 174], [1978 CRLR 161], [1978 MLJ CRI 1 640], [1978 UJ SC 301], [1978 CRLJ SC 778]
Hon’ble Apex Court in this judgment, had rejected the application of a Deputy Manager of a Company to appear and argue on behalf of the petitioner-Company.
A natural person can, of course, appear in person and argue his own case personally but he cannot give a power of attorney to anyone other than a person who is enrolled as an advocate to appear on his behalf. To hold otherwise would be to defeat the provisions of the Advocates Act.
Who can be Party in Person?
Section 32 of the Act, however, vests discretion in the court, authority or person to permit any person who is not enrolled as an advocate to appear before the court and argue a particular case. Section 32 of the Act is not the right of a person (other than an enrolled advocate) to appear and argue before the court but it is the discretion conferred by the Act on the court to permit any one to appear in a particular case even though he is not enrolled as an advocate.
… and more…
We make it clear that as regards artificial persons like a company registered under the Indian Companies Act, or a registered co-operative society, or a trust, neither the Director of the Company nor member of the Managing Committee or office bearer of the registered society or a trustee has a right to appear and argue on behalf of that entity, since that entity is distinct from its shareholders or office bearers or directors. However, it is the discretion of the court under Section 32 of the Act to permit such person to appear on behalf of that entity.
From Para 7,
Goa Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Vs R.K. Chawla on 4 July, 2011
7. There is a distinction between the right to appear on behalf of someone, which is only given to enrolled lawyers, and the discretion in the court to permit a non-lawyer to appear before it. Under Sections 29 and 33 of the Act only those persons have a right to appear and argue before the court who are enrolled as an advocate while under Section 32 of the Act, a power is vested in the court to permit, in a particular case, a person other than an advocate to appear before it and argue the case. A power-of-attorney holder cannot, unless he is an enrolled lawyer, appear in court on behalf of anyone, unless, permitted by the court under Section 32 of the Act, though of course he may sign sale deeds, agreements, etc. and do other acts on behalf of someone else, unless prohibited by law.
Citations : [2011 ACR SC 2 2269], [2011 JKJ SC 3 56], [2011 JT SC 7 559], [2011 KLT SC 3 498], [2011 RCR CIVIL 4 252], [2011 SCALE 7 413], [2011 SCC 15 449], [2011 SCR 7 846], [2014 SCC CIV 2 617], [2011 MWN CR 3 290], [2011 AIOL 469], [2011 RCR CIVIL SC 4 257], [2011 KLT 3 498], [2011 JT 7 559]
Other Sources :
In this judgment of Hon’ble Karnataka High Court, the General Power of Attorney Holder was allowed to act on behalf of Plaintiff under Section 32 of Advocates Act. This is done under the discretionary power of Hon’ble Court and on application of Plaintiff. Plaintiff can not claim this to be one of his rights.NagarathnaMurthy Vs S Narayanappa on 20 November, 2011
In this case, the advocate asked for a percentage of the alimony amount from the Knife !!B Sunitha vs The State Of Telangana on 5 December, 2017