Asia & Australia

July 17, 2017

Uttarakhand HC Urged Litigants To Pay Lawyers’ Fees Only Through Cheque, Bank Draft Or Online Banking

Uttarakhand HC

Earlier, the Uttarakhand HC asked the State Bar Council to frame rules to regulate the fees charged by lawyers. Quite significantly, the court has also urged litigants to pay lawyers’ fees through cheque, bank draft or online banking only.

The bench of Justice VK Bist was hearing an application in which the petitioner sought a stay on the criminal proceedings initiated against him under Sections 406, 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. The court ultimately granted the interim stay, provided that the petitioner co-operated with the investigating agency.

While hearing the case, the petitioner’s previous counsel, Jitendra Chaudhary, making an appearance, claimed that his client had not paid him his fees. The high court refused to interfere in the tiff between the petitioner and his earlier counsel.

It was submitted before the court that lawyers often fleece litigants by charging exorbitant fees, sometimes in the name of expenses. Further, it was argued that poor litigants coming from remote areas of the state are exploited by lawyers for lack of knowledge.

In this regard, Justice Bist said that “…some method needs to be developed so that poor litigants should not be harassed/ cheated. Though advocates cannot be compelled to take particular amount of fee; but, before accepting the brief, they must tell the litigants in clear terms about the fee.”

“Further, payment of fee and payment of expenses to the advocates should be made by way of cheque, bank draft or through online banking only. The advocates should also furnish the receipt thereof to the litigants,” Justice Bist added.

Therefore, the court requested the Bar Council of Uttarakhand to look into the matter and suggest rules or guidelines for the same.

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