W.P. (CRL) 2583/2022
RAJESH SHARMA vs STATE OF NCT DELHI AND ANR
Petition had been filed seeking quashing of FIR No. 458 of 2022 dated 3rd September 2022 under Sections 419/177/209 IPC. P.S. Dwarka, South District, New Delhi. Perition before the HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ANISH DAYAL.
|Section 177||Furnishing false information|
|Section 209||Dishonestly making false claim in Court|
|Section 419||Punishment for cheating by personation|
FACTS OF THE CASE
The petitioner was a 3rd year law student pursuing his LLB from Jagmohan College of Law, Masuri, Link Road, Khekra, Baghpat affiliated with Choudhary Charan Singh University of Meerut. In the year 2012, petitioner completed his graduation and in the year 2020, he joined his LLB course at the above mentioned college.
In August 2022, after completion of 2 years of LLB course, the petitioner joined Abhay RajVerma, Advocate who is practicing before various District Courts in Delhi, as an intern for a period of two months. The petitioner used to accompany Advocate Verma in day to day Court hearings in order to gain experience. He always attended Court in white shirt and black pants but never wore Advocate robes and never represented himself as an Advocate.
On 31st August 2022, Advocate Verma was out of station and his client, Shri Satbir Singh was not well due to which there was no one available to attend the Complaint Case No. 4218 of 2020 pending before the learned MM-07, South West Dwarka, New Delhi. Advocate Verma instructed the petitioner to appear before the Court as an intern.
The petitioner informed the Court that neither Advocate Verma nor the client could appear and sought an adjournment on their behalf. In his nervousness, he submitted that he was a “proxy”. He was under the wrong impression that a “proxy” is somebody who seeks an adjournment and was not sure about the consequences of the same. The petitioner was then asked about his identity by the learned MM and gave his law student identity card. The petitioner was not wearing any band or lawyer robes at that point of time.
The learned MM upset by the situation issued directions to place a copy of the Court proceedings of 31st August 2022 with the ID proof of the petitioner before the learned Principal District and Sessions Judge, South West Dwarka and the learned Judge decided not to take any legal action since the petitioner was a law intern.
On 3rd September 2022 an FIR was registered upon complain by Shri Jitender Solanki (respondent 2) , Hon’ble Secretary, Dwarka Court Bar Association.
The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that there was no question of any impersonation as an Advocate by the petitioner, since he was working as an intern and had appeared only in the above mentioned circumstance. The council stated that instead of having no one appearing before the Court, the petitioner was instructed to appear and seek an adjournment. It was further emphasized by the council that the petitioner was not wearing a band, nor did he ever state that he was an Advocate to the Court.
The Court stated that the issue has been amplified disproportionately.
The Court considered that the petitioner was not wearing the robes of an Advocate nor did he state that he was an Advocate. In his understandable nervousness, he recognized himself as a “proxy”. The Court considered this to be a bona fide mistake since the word “proxy” is used informally in Courts for an Advocate who is not on record appearing before the Court, but also is not a formalized term of art which would be taken into account to implicate the law intern for an alleged offence (of impersonation, furnishing false information or dishonesty making a false claim).
The Court stated that it was clear that a law student cannot appear as a counsel or a proxy counsel in any matter before a Court of law, prior to enroll by a Bar Council and being admitted to the bar.
The Court understood the objections of a Presiding Officers where law interns tend to pose as lawyers. But it believed that these law interns who are merely students should be counselled, properly informed and instructed, rather than FIRs being registered, merely on this basis.
The Court also acknowledged the additional undertaking by the by way of an affidavit stating that he understands that he is not an enrolled Advocate and undertakes that he would not appear or project himself as a lawyer in any proceeding before the Court till he gets duly enrolled an Advocate.
Accordingly the HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ANISH DAYAL quashed the FIR No. 458 of 2022 registered at PS Dwarka.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ADITYA G S.