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Ahmedabad man sues lawyer after court dismisses his case
Times of India, May 19, 2019

Ahmedabad: Rajendra Sheth from Naroda sued his lawyer on finding his case had been dismissed by the court because the advocate did not attend the proceedings.

Sheth demanded compensation of Rs 75,000 form his advocate, Kalpesh Patel, for the deficiency in service leading to the case being dismissd. However, the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (city) rebuked the client instead for his “nonchalant attitude”.

According to the case details, Sheth’s partnership firm in Bapunagar was raided by officials of the electricity company and they disconnected the power connection in 2004. He hired Patel for Rs 5,000 to file a civil suit in the city civil court, which ordered the restoration of power on payment of a certain years later. Till 2016, when the case was dismissed for non-prosecution, there were a few adjournments in court. Neither Sheth nor his lawyer had attended proceedings. The court later restored the case on Sheth’s request.

Annoyed at the dismissal of the case, Sheth sued Patel for not attending his hearings and not providing proper service to the client after charging for it.

Patel defended himself by arguing that Sheth did not fall in the category of customer because his case involved his business interests. He also submitted that when he called his client for evidence at the time of hearing, the client did not reply at all.

After hearing the case, the consumer court said, “We are of the view that there is limit for an advocate to remind his client to remain present or to produce papers and evidence in the case, and it is the solemn duty of the client to stay connected.”

The court pulled up the client for placing the blame on the advocate, “Due to the apathy of the complainant, no blame for the aftermath of the case could be attributed to the advocate. If the complainant did not evince interest in his case despite the opponent’s (lawyer’s) frequent contacts, the opponent cannot be held responsible and no fault can be found with the opponent.”

The court also observed, “ The complainant tried to blame the advocate for his own nonchalant attitude towards his case since he neither responded to telephonic calls nor provided any supporting proof which any advocate would require in conduct of the case.”

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