Sunday 2 April 2023

Can the court accept a compromise petition if the party has not given authority to his advocate to compromise the case through a special Vakalatnama?

 The third question that arises for our consideration in context with the legality and validity of the settlement is whether the learned advocate appearing for the cross-objector i.e., Defendant No. 2 could have signed the compromise petition without an express consent. It is an imperative duty of the Court to ascertain the genuineness and lawfulness of the compromise deed. Indisputably, in the case on hand, the First Appellate Court had neither recorded the statements of the parties in the Court nor had made any inquiry into the terms of the settlement. It is in such circumstances that the High Court in its impugned order has observed that the Compromise Petition was signed by the advocate without any express authority or without special vakalatnama executed in favour of the advocate. In fact, the authority was expressly curtailed in the compromise deed. {Para 100}

103. Almost six decades back, the Madras High Court speaking through Justice Ramaswami (as His Lordship then was) in the case of Govindammal v. Marimuthu Maistry and Ors. reported in MANU/TN/0103/1959 : AIR 1959 Mad 7 had sounded the note of caution observing as under:

5.... The decisions appear to be fairly clear that even in cases where there is no express authorization to enter into a compromise, under the inherent authority impliedly given to the Vakil he has power to enter into the compromise on behalf of his client. But in the present state of the clientele world and the position in which the Bar now finds itself and in the face of divided judicial authority and absence of statutory backing prudence dictates that unless express power is given in the vakalatnama itself to enter into compromise, in accordance with the general practice obtaining a special vakalatnama should be filed or the specific consent of the party to enter into the compromise should be obtained. If an endorsement is made on the plaint etc., it would be better to get the signature or the thumb impression of the party affixed thereto, making it evident that the party is aware of what is being done by the Vakil on his or her behalf.

104. Thus, in view of the aforesaid discussion, we hold that the High Court committed no error in holding that the settlement between the Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 was unlawful.


Civil Appeal Nos. 2913-2915 of 2018

Prasanta Kumar Sahoo and Ors.  Vs.  Charulata Sahu and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

A.S. Bopanna and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ.

Author: J.B. Pardiwala, J.

Decided On: 29.03.2023

Citation: MANU/SC/0326/2023.

Read full Judgment here: Click here

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