Can’t Stop Litigants From Filing False Civil Cases Against Advocates: Supreme Court

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A Bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal of the Supreme Court while hearing a case raising the question of whether services rendered by advocates come under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, remarked that it cannot bar litigants from filing false civil cases against the advocates.  

The bench emphasized that civil suits can be initiated against advocates irrespective of whether complaints have been lodged with bar councils.

Addressing assertions suggesting that case results are predominantly influenced by courts rather than solely by the presenting counsel.

The issue stemmed from a 2007 ruling by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which classified such services within the realm of the Act, emphasizing the bilateral monetary agreement between a client and their legal representative.

On 2009, the Supreme Court suspended the NCDRC decision.

The appellants, represented by Senior Advocate Narender Hooda and Advocate Jasbir Malik, belonged to the Bar of Indian Lawyers.

Additionally, Senior Advocate V. Giri served as the amicus curiae in this case.

During the proceedings, the appellants’ legal counsel asserted that resorting to a consumer forum for redressal was unnecessary, as dissatisfied parties could address grievances against lawyers by lodging complaints with the Bar Council of India (BCI).

“To consumer court, only a letter needs to be written and complainant need not turn up. Lawyers are not even entitled to advertise. For doctors, the relationship with patient is direct. Outcome is dependent on so many factors.”

After which the bench said “At least we have not seen doctors advertise so far. Individually, or on radio or TV.”

After which Narendra Hooda said that advertising by specialist doctors is a standard and acceptable practice, whereas lawyers are restricted from engaging in similar promotional activities.

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