Supreme Court Upholds BCI Penalty: Advocate Acting As Real Estate Agent And Selling Property Of Client To Misconduct

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Bar Council of India for suspending an advocate for 5 years for gross professional misconduct after it was being revealed that he had acquired a General Power of Attorney from his own client in a property-related case and subsequently sold the property.
The bench comprising of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal was hearing the appeal from the decision of the Bar Council Of India which had suspended the advocate for 5 years on account of professional misconduct.
However, the disciplinary action stemmed from an inquiry which is conducted by the Bar Council of India. Thus, the Bar Council found that this being the case of professional misconduct as admittedly the appellant 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.
Furthermore, the appellant could not produce any evidence to show that the consideration received by him was paid over to his client.
Therefore, the reply of him before before the disciplinary committee read as follows:
It has been submitted by the respondent before the court that he was also acting as the business of the Real-Estate for selling and buying the properties as a Real-Estate Agent.
Thus, 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 observed and has held that the above statement of the appellant suggested that he was acting as a Real-Estate Agent while practising as an Advocate and that the same amounted to misconduct.
The courtobserved that 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 and that 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.
Accordingly, the direction to suspend him as an Advocate for five years is fully justified.