Decided on March 03,1972



- (1.) IN my view, this reference must be accepted and summons must be issued to Sri. N, Venkataratnam, Advocate at Guntur. who issued the reply notice on the instructions of the respondent herein. Case referred 18 of 1971 The petitioner is the daughter-in-law of the respondent, After the death of her husband, certain disputes arose between herself and the respondent with regard to the possession of a house, She got a lawyer's notice issued to the respondent through her advocate, one Mr. K. Raja Rao, to which the respondent caused a reply notice to be issued through Sri N. Venkataratnam, an advocate at Guntur, in which certain statements alleged to be defamatory were made. The petitioner filed a complaint against the respondent alleging an offence under Section 500 I.P.C which was registered as C. C. No. 664 of 1969 on-the file-of the IIIrd Additional Munsif-Magistrate, Guntur. After examining two witnesses in support of her case, the petitioner requested summons to be issued to Sri N. Venkataratnam who gave the reply notice containing defamatory statements. The learned Magistrate has rejected that petition. On revision, the learned Ilnd Additional Sessions Judge has recommended to the High Court for setting aside that order. Section 126 of the INdian Evidence Act no doubt prohibits any pleader from disclosing any communication made to him by his client in the course of and for the purpose of his employment as such pleader without the express consent of the client. IN the instant case, what was communicated by the respondent to Sri N. Venkataratnam,' the pleader, was put in the form of a reply notice and it is evidently to prove this notice that he is being summoned. The lawyer has already, with the cpnsent of the respondent who is the accused in the case, communicated the information given to him in the reply notice and it is only for the purpose of proving that notice that he is feeing summoned arid not to disclose any private or confidential communication between him and the respondent, IN Palanippa Chittiar Vs Emperor, it was held by the Madras High Court that Section 126 is not infringed if an advocate who asks a defamatory question on the information of his client deposes to that effect when bis client is sued -fore defamation or when his reply notice to that effect is allowed to be produced in Court. The communication between Shri N. Venkataratnam and the respondent having been put in the form of a notice was no longer a confidential communication. Section 1,26 of the Evidence Act prohibits a pleader from disclosing any communication made to him in the course of and for the purpose of his employment as such pleader. Disclosure implies that which was not already made known to others. If the communication by the client to the-advocate is put in the form of a notice and that notice is produced in Court, it forms the basis of a complaint for ,defamation under Section 500 I,P.C. If what is communicated by the client to the advocate is what is put in the notice, then there is already a disclosure; and when such an advocate is called upon to give evidence, he is not disclosing any fact for the first time but is only substantiating what is already disclosed. Section 126 therefore does not stand in the vs ay of summoning the advocate for this purpose.
(2.) THE revision petition is therefore allowed. Summon?, as prayed for, shall be issued to Sri N. Venkataratnam, Advocate, Guntur, who gave the reply notice on behalf of the respondent. Reference is answered accordingly.;

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