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Bombay HC Rejects Plea Challenging the 'Hefty' Payment to Senior Advocate in Kanagana’s Case (2021)

Sunidhi Singh ,
  04 March 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Bombay High Court
Brief :
This case relates to the case filed by Kanagana Ranaut when parts of her office were demolished by the BMC. Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy had represented then for which he was paid 82.5 Lakh rupees by BMC. The petition in this case was filed challenging that fee.
Citation :

BENCH:

Justice S. S. Shinde & Justice Manish Pitale

DATE OF JUDGMENT:

8th February, 2021

SUMMARY:

This case relates to the case filed by Kanagana Ranaut when parts of her office were demolished by the BMC. Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy had represented then for which he was paid 82.5 Lakh rupees by BMC. The petition in this case was filed challenging that fee.

ISSUES:

  1. Whether the courts can interfere in the appointment of judges and the amount of fees that is to be paid to them.

OVERVIEW:

  • The present case is a case challenging the fees paid to Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy by BMC for representing the BMC in the case that had arisen out of the demolition of Kanagna Ranaut's office situated in Pali Hill, Mumbai.
  • A petition was filed by Sharad Datta Yadav, by the way of an RTI application, challenging the payment 'hefty' amount of 82.5 Lakhs paid to the Senior Advocate in that case.
  • It was contended by him that the appointment of such a senior advocate was not required in such a 'simple and petty' case and that the payment could be challenged especially because BMC had lost the case and no relief was granted to it.
  • The petitioner wanted an investigation by CBI to happen along with the registration of an FIR.
  • As a reply, Senior Advocate Anil Sakhare said that the appointment of the advocate had been done according to the department's decision and that BMC had a right to choose a lawyer to represent it.

JUDGMENT ANALYSIS:

By the way of this judgment, the Bench of Justice Shinde and Justice Pitale rejected the petition. The Bombay High Court held the following:

  1. The Court dismissed the plea stating that it cannot interfere in matter of appointment of advocates and the fees that is to be paid to them.
  2. BMC, like any litigant, can appoint any lawyer of their choice and the court cannot restrict them. The court cannot decide on that for the parties to a dispute.
  3. The Court held that the matter had may be an important one for BMC and not a petty one as stated by the petitioner.
  4. It was stated by Justice Shinde that an advocates fees cannot be challenged just because he/she lost the case. He asked the petitioner, “Supposed you are engaged by the BMC, you tell them your fee, appear in the case and do your best but the court passes an order against the civic body, can you be held responsible?”
  5. Nevertheless, if the petitioner felt that some kind of cheating had been done which caused loss to the public exchequer, a separate complaint could be filed before a Magistrate or the police.
  6. Rejecting the petition, Justice Shinde said, “We don't understand why such petitions are filed and the petitions behind it”.

CONCLUSION:

By the way of this judgment, the honorable Bombay High Court has made it clear that the decision of the appointment of a counsel and payment to such a counsel is a decision of the parties who choose and appoint them. The court cannot interfere in such matters. The court also noted that that a counsel's fee or designation cannot be taken back only because he/she lost a case.

 
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