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April 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm #4482
I availed the services of a counsel for my case before district consumer disputes redressal forum at Hyderabad. I prepared the sequence of events, which he did not read through. He let about a fortnight lapse saying he needed time to search precedents. I located precedents on net and sent them across to him. Again a week later, he sent a draft complaint wherein he had not used any facts. Instead, he had resorted to accusing the opposite party for lapse in service while I wanted him to focus on how I had suffered. I redid the complaint, which he took prints, of. I organized exhibits at my end. We submitted the complaint. The counter was collected by him. He did not notice many flaws such as no vakalatnama in counter, no name of the person signing, etc. Even the copy was xerox. So I asked him to obtain a certified copy. He says he collected it, but has not given it to me so far. The counter was filled with lies. He said that is how it is always I should not be perturbed. He asked me to prepare affidavit evidence exactly as complaint no changes, based on format, and I prepared draft and sent it to him. Before printing it, he resent it to me for final approval. I corrected it and sent it back, he took the prints, and brought it back asking me to go to forum to submit it. The opposite party filed their affidavit evidence, which I have not seen as yet, because my advocate collected it. Now for written arguments I have time till 19.4.2018, and he sent me a draft asking me not to include a new but crucial evidence that I had shown him before submitting affidavit evidence. I did not know that we cannot submit evidence after the OP submits their affidavit evidence. He got worked up saying now the case will be delayed if I submit new evidence. I believe this new evidence, which is encumbrance certificate, can completely change the way this case is viewed. I have been telling him all along I want it included, and even told him that in emails and smses. But he has been ignoring it. I believe he is not understanding what I am saying, i.e., he does not understand why not registering encumbrance charge is crucial to my case. Now, he does not want to continue, and I am not sure whether he will sign the written arguments I have prepared including the new evidence. He says he will withdraw his vakalatnama on 19.4.2018. He has also been in touch with opposite counsel regarding my case. Is it alright to do so without letting me know upfront what it is about? I believe it was the slip of his tongue that revealed he had been in touch with OP counsel. I was to pay 10 percent of the award, which we expected to be 100000 INR. I have paid 9500 to him so far.
So my queries are
a. Can I file vakalatnama without being a lawyer?
b. Can I file written arguments along with vakalatnama or do I have to wait for vakalatnama to be taken on record before filing written arguments?
c. Can I include new evidence within written arguments?
d. Do I seek extension of time on 19.4.2018?
I am fine with some delay as long as I get the verdict in my favor, without lies and raising decibels.
April 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm #4496
Dr. Ashok DhamijaAdvocate
What you are basically asking is whether you can discontinue your lawyer in your case and pursue the case as “party-in-person”. Yes, this is permissible. You can withdraw your authorisation to the lawyer and appear in person in your case. You need not be a lawyer for fighting your own case.
Please check from the consumer forum as to what format or application you would require for this purpose. It will not be a vakalatnama, because that is prepared to authorise a lawyer (vakil) to appear for you. In Supreme Court, a party in person is required to file a Memo of Appearance, which is a half-page format. Please check in the consumer forum about the formalities, if any, for you to appear in person. Generally speaking, there should not be any formalities. But, since you were having a lawyer earlier, you may have to inform the forum about withdrawal of your authorisation to him (an application may perhaps be required for this purpose).
With regard t your second question, both the things can be done simultaneously also. You just inform the forum (by application or otherwise, as required) about your appearance in person, and then immediately you can file your written arguments or whatever other pleadings you want to submit.
While it is not possible for me to comment accurately on your third question, in the absence of having seen your detailed documents, generally speaking, you can file new evidence with the permission of the court / forum at such a stage also. It may, of course, lead to some delay, if the forum permits you to file new evidence at such stage.
I cannot comment as to whether you should seek extension of time on next date. It is your decision depending on facts and circumstances of the case.
Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers.
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