The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to an advocate advising his client that an appeal filed by the opposite party before the Supreme Court of India “will not succeed at all”.
A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said how an advocate could have pre-judged or speculated the outcome of the proceedings before the Court opining that it prima facie bordered on professional misconduct.
“We fail to understand as to how an advocate appearing in the matter of instructing the litigant who is a party before the Supreme Court of India would be in a position to prejudge the outcome of the proceedings or if we may say so speculate about the outcome thereof,” the Court said.
The Bench of which also comprised Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari said that the matter needs to be proceeded with and asked the party to file an affidavit disclosing the details of the concerned lawyer.
“This proceeding will be treated as suo moto action initiated by this Court. The respondent shall file an affidavit within two weeks from today and the suo motu proceedings to be notified by the Registry on February 5, 2021,” the Court said.
The case in which parents of a child are locked in a matrimonial dispute and custody battle, can be traced back to divorce proceedings initiated by the respondent wife before the Superior Court of Arizona.
The appellant husband filed an injunction suit filed before a trial court in Madhya Pradesh wherein it was prayed that the wife be restrained from pursuing any case before the Superior Court of Arizona as well as to further restrain her from initiating any other proceeding against the husband in any foreign courts.
He had contended that both parties had never resided in Arizona and they were Hindus who were married under Hindu law. The child was also born in California.
The husband primarily feared that any drastic order could be passed by the Superior Court of Arizona even though he had initiated matrimonial cases here in Indian courts. The Arizona court had made it clear that it would apply the laws of Arizona and not the Hindu Marriage Act or Indian laws.
The trial court rejected the husband’s application for an injunction on the ground that the Superior Court of Arizona was outside India and not within the jurisdiction of the court. The Madhya Pradesh High Court also said that courts in India could adjudicate the controversy between the parties, only after the Superior Court of Arizona passed an order in the pending proceedings.
However, the Supreme Court of India noted that the order “by the trial court was completely erroneous and ill-advised”.
“Both the Trial Court and the High Court misapplied the legal position and committed a manifest error, in rejecting the ad-interim relief claimed by the appellant against the respondent during the pendency of the proceedings between the parties before the Court at Bhopal,” the Supreme Court said.
It, therefore allowed the appeal and injuncted the respondent wife from precipitating the matter before Arizona Supreme Court.
On the issue regarding the lawyer speculating about the outcome of the present appeal, the Court said that during the hearing, the lawyer for the husband had brought to the notice of the Court, a communication or response given by the respondent wife in reference to the service of notice issued by the Supreme Court in the present appeal.
In that communication, it was asserted by the respondent that her attorney in India had advised her that the appeal pending before the apex court will not succeed at all.
This prompted the Court to seek details of the said attorney while observing that it prima facie amounted to professional misconduct.