NCLAT slaps the appellant with a fine for misleading it and the CCI
The New Delhi Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has imposed a fine on an appellant who allowed a person to impersonate a lawyer in the Dushyant vs Competition Commission of India (CCI) case.
The tribunal also directed him to deposit Rs.1 lakh with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee within 21 days
The order passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar (judicial member) and Dr. Ashok Kumar Mishra (technical member) also told the Registrar to take appropriate action in accordance with the law after examining the entire material on record.
The order further said, “The CCI is also directed to remain vigilant while entertaining information applications. The unauthorised representation must be checked at its initial stage.”
The tribunal was hearing an appeal against the CCI order, which rejected the information petition filed by the appellant. The tribunal found that a person named Sumit Jain had filed the pleadings before both the forums ‘pretending’ to be the appellant’s counsel.
The fact came to light when Jain was asked why he had not filed the vakaltnama. He candidly admitted that he was not an advocate! Jain also clarified that he was not even a chartered accountant, a company secretary, or a cost accountant.
Since it went against the provisions under the Competition Act, the bench held, “There is no doubt that a party cannot be represented by any third person who has not been included in either of the aforesaid statutory provisions.”
The tribunal noted that Jain had impersonated himself by signing several documents as the appellant’s lawyer. He had filed the plea in the capacity of an individual, though he was running an accreditation agency as a proprietor.
The bench, thus, stated, “The law is settled on the point that if one does not come before the court or the tribunal with clean hands, his claim deserves to be rejected. In this case, the appellant went a step ahead wherein he misled both the CCI as well as the tribunal.”
The tribunal reasoned, “To preserve the sanctity of the court proceedings and confidence of the public in the system, simply dismissing the appeal may not serve the purpose.”
To prevent the recurrence of such an activity, the appeal was disposed of at a cost.