Gujarat HC fines advocate Rs 5,000 for repeatedly failing to appear: ‘Lack of respect for court and due process of law’

The Gujarat High Court has fined an advocate Rs 5,000 for repeatedly failing to appear on behalf of his client despite specific orders. The court referred advocate Prashant Chavda’s conduct to the Bar Council of Gujarat and directed him to pay the penalty to the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority within 30 days. In an order dated April 1, Justice Nikhil Kariel’s court observed that the advocate had not remained true to his profession by remaining evasive with his clients. The court directed the Bar Council to take appropriate action against the advocate based on this order and the previous orders after giving appropriate notice. The court observed that the petition was filed through advocate Chavda but had failed to remain present or make alternate arrangements on several occasions. The petitioners had also informed the court that the advocate was not responding to their calls and neither was he returning the papers of their case. The court gave the petitioners time until April 8 to engage an advocate after taking appropriate steps under the Gujarat High Court Rules for relieving Chavda. Justice Kariel observed Chavda’s conduct and noted that the advocate’s tendency to avoid court appearances and submit sick/leave notes indicates a lack of respect for the court and due process of law. “It is to be noted that the matter had been heard on 13.02.2024 and whereas while it appears that the serious allegations are made against the officials of the state government and whereas since this court sought to know from the learned advocate as to the circumstances under which the allegations are made and the said query making the learned advocate uncomfortable, the said learned advocate had not appeared before this court thereafter…” the court observed. “A learned advocate appearing for his clients is not merely a mouthpiece. Rather learned advocates are essentially officers of the court whose solemn duty is to render assistance to the court to arrive at a just conclusion to ensure that justice is rendered…The absence of the learned advocate has also resulted in unnecessary wastage of precious time of the court,” it added. None

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