VARIGONDA KAMESWARAMMA Vs. DUVVURI VISWANADHAM
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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Kumarayya, J. -
(1.) This is a proceeding under Section 10 of the Indian Bar councils Act, 1925. It has been started on a complaint made by V. Kameswaramma, alleging professional misconduct against Sri Duvvuri Viswanadam of Kotnagudem, an advocate practising at Ramavaram. This complaint was referred for enquiry to the District Judge. Khammam, after consultation with the Bar Council. The learned District Judge after due enquiry, submitted his report with a finding that the respondent is guilty of professional misconduct, in his opinion, in the circumstances of the case he ought to be sternly dealt with.
(2.) The facts leading to the complaint may be shortly stated. The complainant let out her Malgi in Kotnaguaem to one Ambaji and his son, satyanarayana. This soon involved her into difficulties, as the tenants would not pay her the stipulated rent and filed a petition No. 3 of 1957 before the Rent Controller, Kothaguoem, for fixation or fair rent. They then allowed themselves to run into arrears. The complainant would not tolerate the same. She filed a petition No. 17/59 before the Rent controller for eviction. In these two proceedings, the advocate appointed by the complainant was one Sri Malladi venkataramayya. Sri U. Viswanadnam (the respondent herein), was his junior. As the senior advocate underwent an operation in Kothagudem hospital, these cases were wholly entrusted to the respondent, thereafter on his advice, two turner suits O.S. nOS. 39/58 and 2/60 for recovery of arrears of rent, were instituted in the Munsif-Magistrates Court, Ramavaram. According to the complainant, the stipulated legal fee for all the four proceedings was Rs. 200.00. She paid Rs. 100.00 in all, towards the same. She paid besides, a sum of Rs. 500.00 towards expenses of litigation. The tenants at long last deposited in the Court a sum of Rs. 1335.00 towards her claim. The respondent withdrew the said amount partly on 23-3-1960 and the rest on 24-3-1960, without the authority of the complainant, on his own application. Having done so, he was not prepared to pay the entire amount to the complainant; but sought to appropriate for himself a sum of Rs. 200.00towards his fee and pay the balance, to which course the complainant was not agreeable. He then opened a savings. Bank account in his own name and deposited a sum of Rs. 1135.00. He wrote a letter, EX. B-2 dated 6-4-1960, to the complainant, informing her about the said withdrawal and also the deposit made in the Savings Bank and told her that if she wished to take the said money, he would withdraw the same on one weeks notice and pay it to her. As soon as the complainant received the notice she took exception to the conduct of the advocate in withdrawing the amount without informing her earlier and also in appropriating any sum towards his fees when the cases were still pending. She categorically stated that she had already paid him Rs. 100.00, and not Rs. 80.00, towards his fee and contended that she had agreed to pay the balance of Rs. 100.00 only in case she won, she called upon him to refund the entire amount withdrawn by him and obtain receipt therefor. As regards the expenses, she stated that a sum of Rs. 500.00 was given to him for that specific purpose and that he was liable to render account for the same. She asked him to send the statement of account. In a subsequent letter, Ex. B-3 dated 21-4-1960, the respondent admitted that he hag received Rs. 100.00 towards legal fee, but stated that he had to pay towards stamp and other expenses a sum of Rs. 20.00 and therefore credit was given only for Rs. 80.00. His contention still was that a sum of Rs. 280.00 was the agreed fee and that the complainant was entitled only to Rs. 1135.00 which she could receive at his office on a weeks prior notice, he denied that a sum as large as Rs. 500.00 was deposited with him towards expenses and also the fact that except one suit, any other suit was pending.
(3.) This attitude on the part of the advocate implied the complainant to engage an advocate, Sri B. Lakshmi Narayana, to take up correspondence. The said advocate issued a notice, Ex. B-25, dated 2-6-1960. The respondent sent his reply, Ex. B-5 dated 4-6-1960. The matters did not improve. After some further uneventful correspondence the complainant lodged the present complaint on 10-9-1960.;
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