High Court (India)

March 06, 2019

New Counsel needs NOC from old Counsel if Latter not Discharged from Case


A “no objection certificate” is required from the counsel holding vakalath for a new counsel to appear in the case if the previous counsel hasn’t been discharged, ruled a division bench of the Karnataka High Court.

The Division Bench of Justices Ravi Malimath and M. Shyam Prasad in a Regular First Appeal held that unless and until a no objection certificate is obtained from the existing advocate who still holds a vakalath, no new counsel can enter appearance on record.

The appellants had filed a memo for withdrawing the case but the memo was signed by a new counsel who did not have a NOC from the earlier counsel.

The Division Bench observed, "There is nothing known as irrevocable vakalatnama. The right of a party to withdraw vakalatnama or authorization given to an advocate is absolute. Hence, a party may discharge his advocate any time, with or without cause by withdrawing his vakalatnama or authorization. On discharging the advocate, the party has the right to have the case file returned to him from the advocate, and any refusal by the advocate to return the file amounts to misconduct under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961."

The bench said, “When the earlier counsel still holds the vakalath, the question of a new advocate entering the case cannot be accepted.”

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