scorecardresearch
Friday, Jan 27, 2023
Advertisement

Counsel law interns posing as advocates, instead of lodging FIR against them, says Delhi HC

The HC was hearing the plea of a third-year law student who appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Dwarka Courts last year as proxy counsel on the instructions of an advocate, without wearing an advocate's robes or a band

Delhi High Court proxy advocatesThe HC also observed that a law intern is a student who is in the process of understanding the court practice and procedures and hence it is the “duty of the institution” to take steps to facilitate their education and training and not simply punish them for such “inadvertent acts.” (Representational/ File)
Listen to this article
Counsel law interns posing as advocates, instead of lodging FIR against them, says Delhi HC
x
00:00
1x 1.5x 1.8x

The Delhi High Court has recently held that First Information Reports (FIRs) should not be registered against student law interns posing as advocates and that they should be given counselling instead.

While hearing a plea of a law student who sought to quash an FIR against him for appearing in court as an advocate, a single judge bench of Justice Anish Dayal said in such cases the law interns, who are merely students, should be counselled, properly informed and instructed, rather than FIRs being registered.

The HC was hearing the plea of a third-year law student who appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Dwarka Courts last year as proxy counsel on the instructions of an advocate, without wearing an advocate’s robes or a band.

The HC also observed that a law intern is a student who is in the process of understanding the court practice and procedures and hence it is the “duty of the institution” to take steps to facilitate their education and training and not simply punish them for such “inadvertent acts.”

Subscriber Only Stories
Delhi Confidential: Pro-public on Republic Day
Meet the woman who found name missing from voter list in UP — and took th...
At DGP meet, officers flag Islamist, Hindutva outfits in radicalisation
Lessons from Covid: Jharkhand’s first survey of migrants

The court, however, said that this also should not be construed to mean that it is appropriate for someone who is not enrolled as a lawyer to appear before the court wearing the lawyer’s robes and categorically representing himself as a lawyer. “There would not be a case for some opprobrium and necessary action,” the HC said.

The HC did say that the issue had been amplified disproportionately especially since the student had fairly disclosed that he was an intern when he was questioned. The HC also observed that while the student was confused and unable to handle the situation, it was not a case of “malintent”, which could implicate the student under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“It was not a situation where an intern was wearing the robes of an advocate or had stated that he was an advocate. In his understandable nervousness if the intern stated he was a ‘proxy’, it would 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 formalised 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 HC said.

Advertisement

Taking note of an undertaking filed by the student that he would not appear in a proceeding before getting enrolled as an advocate, the HC quashed the FIR against the intern.

The Metropolitan Magistrate directed that a copy of the student’s identification proof and the court proceedings be placed before the Principal District & Sessions Judge, who refused to take any action since the petitioner was a law student.

However, an FIR was registered against the student on the complaint of the Dwarka Court Bar Association secretary, wherein he was booked under Section 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 177 (furnishing false information), and 209 (dishonestly making false claim in court) of the IPC.

Advertisement

The court also enquired whether any notices issued to warn interns from posing as lawyers have been properly exhibited. The court was told that certain steps had been taken. The court, however, said that adequate and appropriate dissemination of this information would possibly reduce such incidents happening on a substantial basis. The judge said that advocates should clearly instruct their interns about this issue and law interns should be careful about how they present themselves in court.

First published on: 25-01-2023 at 10:45 IST
Next Story

ATM thefts: Member of inter-state gang held in Delhi

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
close