Can a non-lawyer appear on behalf of a litigant in a court of law? Or can a litigant engage a person who is not a lawyer to represent him/her before a court of law? This article attempts to answer these questions.
Section 30 of Advocate Acts reads “Right of advocates to practise.—Subject to provisions of this Act, every advocate whose name is entered in the 1[State roll] shall be entitled as of right to practice throughout the territories to which this Act extends,—
(i) in all courts including the Supreme Court;
(ii) before any tribunal or person legally authorized to take evidence; and
(iii) before any other authority or person before whom such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practice.” It suggest that every advocate whose name is entered in the [State roll] the right to practise in all courts including the Supreme Court, before any tribunal or person legally authorized to take evidence; and before any other authority or person before whom such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practice. Section 33 of this Act reiterates this entitlement by stating that no person shall be entitled to practice in any court or before any authority or person unless he is enrolled as an advocate. Section 29 further provides that Advocates are the only recognized class of persons entitled to practice law. However, Section 32 empowers any court, authority, or person to permit any person, not enrolled as an advocate under this Act, to appear before it or him in any particular case.
ANon-Lawyer Can Appear, But Only If Court Permits
A judgment delivered by the Supreme Court four decades ago in Harishankar Rastogi vs Girdhari Sharma AIR 1978 SC 1019 answer the question whether a person who is not an advocate by profession can be permitted to plead on behalf of the litigants.
“A private person, who is not an advocate, has no right to barge into Court and claim to argue for a party. He must get the prior permission of the Court, for which the motion must come from the party himself. It is open to the Court to grant or withhold permission in its discretion. In fact, the Court may, even after granting permission, withdraw it half-way through if the representative proves himself reprehensible. The antecedents, the relationship, the reasons for requisitioning the services of the private person and a variety of other circumstances must be gathered before grant or refusal of permission.”
A leader, by definition, includes any person other than one authorized by law to practice in a court if he is appointed with the permission of the court, to act in particular proceeding suggest section 2(q) of the Criminal Procedure Code, observed Justice VR Krishna.
To conclude, a non-lawyer can appear before the Court on behalf of a litigant if and only when the concerned Court grants such permission. As held in Harishankar Rastogi, the antecedents, the relationship, the reasons for requisitioning the services of the private person and a variety of other circumstances must be gathered before the grant or refusal of permission.
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