The Kerala High Court on Thursday declined to grant any interim relief to a woman who allegedly practiced law in Alappuzha District for over two years without a law degree. Single-judge Justice K Haripal was of the opinion that the case needs to be heard in detail for any interim order to be passed.
The judge also expressed his incredulity at the submission by accused’s counsel that she had no malafide intentions. Remarking on the matter, Justice Haripal quoted:
A person who is not qualified practiced law and you, a lawyer, are saying there is no malafide intention.
The Court was hearing the anticipatory bail application filed by one Cessy Xavier, who was caught allegedly practising law for two years without a law degree. The matter was widely reported in the media in the month of July this year.
Cessy was elected as an officer bearer of Alappuzha Bar Association. However, later the Bar Association received an anonymous letter alleging that she had not completed her law degree and that she had not enrolled with the Kerala Bar Council either.
The Bar Association had swiftly cancelled her membership, after conducting an investigation in the matter themselves.
Pursuant to a complaint filed by the Bar Association in the matter, a First Information Report (FIR) was also registered against Xavier for offences punishable under:
- Section 417 (punishment for cheating)
- Section 419 (punishment for cheating by personation)
- Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property)
…of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The accused woman then went into hiding once the report started hitting headlines in the state, but later appeared before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court-I in Alappuzha to surrender.
Here, she learned that police had entered the Court premises and that some of the charges registered against her were for non-bailable offences, and thus she fled before the case could be heard.
The fake lawyer then moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail by way of the present plea.
Arguments By Cessy Xavier
Advocate Roy Chacko, who represented the accused woman, argued that it was due to financial constraints that the lady couldn’t complete her law degree and that she instead worked as an intern at a law office, reported Bar and Bench.
Further, he submitted that Xavier and her family have already been shunned by colleagues, neighbours and society at large as news reports maligning her name have been widely circulated.
He also argued that the offence under Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of IPC, which is a non bailable offence, has only been added to intimidate her further and that it wouldn’t hold upon further investigation.
Arguments by Prosecution
Senior Government Pleader Neema TV informed the court that offences punishable under Sections 465 (punishment for forgery) and 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) have also been added to the charges against Xavier which are both non bailable offences.
A member of the Alappuzha Bar Association, Advocate Pramod, informed the Court that he has filed an application for impleadment. According to him Xavier worked closely with influential members of the legal fraternity and that several members of the Association have been threatened into silence due to political pressure.
Chacko opposed the impleadment application and submitted that he shall file a counter affidavit in that regard by the date of next hearing. He reiterated that custodial interrogation is unnecessary in this matter and pressed for interim anticipatory bail.
The Court, however, refused to pass any order and the case will be heard next on August 31, 2021.
ALSO READ –
READ ORDER | Kerala High Court Allows 498A Accused Husband To Return To His Country Of Work While Out On Bail
Join our Facebook Group or follow us on social media by clicking on the icons below