In re Batuwantudawe
1950 Present: Dias S.P.J., Nagalingam J. and Windham J.In re BATUWANTUBAWE
Ik the Matter of the Application by Ufau Batttwantu n awe to be
RE-ADMITTED AS AN ADVOCATE.
Advocate—Home struck off the roll of Advocates—Subsequent application for reinstate-ment—Principles applicable on such application—Reporting to Inn of Court.
The petitioner, whose name was struck off the roll of Advocates on theground that be had been convicted of cheating, forgery of u valuable security,and cheating by personation, applied to the Supreme Court, after an intervalof thirteen years, to be readmitted to the profession.
Held, that the application for reinstatement should not be allowed-Held further, that when the name of a member of the Wngliah Bar, who is alsoan Advocate of tbe Supreme Court, is struck off the roll of Advocates, the factshould bo reported to his Inn.
HIS was an application by the petitioner to be readmitted as anAdvocate.
E. B. Wikramanayake, K.C., with B. H. Aluwihare, Q. T. Samara•ufickreme and C. E, Jaytvxtrdene, for petitioner.
i2.K. CrosaetU-Thamhiah, K.C., Solicitor-General, with H. A. Wije-manne, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
r. N. W740 (8/60)
Cur. adv. vult.
DIAS S.P.J.—In f« BatuwarUudawe
April 5, 1950. Dias S.P.J.—
The petitioner, Upali Batuwantudawe, was called to the English Barat the Middle Temple. By virtue of that call to the Bar, he was onAugust 4, 1932, admitted and enrolled as an Advocate of the SupremeCourt of Ceylon.
In D. C., Colombo, Criminal Case No. 11,382, the petitioner, who was thesecond accusod, along with his brother and another were indicted forabetting the offence of cheating, the forgery of a valuablo security,to wit, a promissory note for Its. 600, and cheating by personation.On June 19, 1936, ho was convicted on each of the counts, and sentencedin the aggregate to undorgo a torm of six months’ rigorous imprisonment.In appeal his conviction was affirmed and the petitioner duly servedhis sentence. This court by its order dated October 8, 1937, struok hisname off the roll of Advocates holding—“ The Advocate in this case wasconvicted of a series of very serious offences involving gross fraud ineach. He has shown no cause against extreme disciplinary measures,and we can do no less than order that he be struck off the register ofAdvocates We respectfully concur with that view. The petitioner,who at the material dates was in extreme financial embarrassment,entered into a conspiracy with his co-accused and another to defraud anAfghan money-lender in order to obtain from him money on a forgedpromissory note purporting to have been signed by one “ T. E. Wick-remasingho, Assistant Superintendent of Police ”. In order to per-petrate this fraud, the petitioner and his brother procured the uniformof an Assistant Superintendent of Police from a friend of theirs in thePolice Force, and one Vernon Alexander posing as an Assistant Superin-tendent of Police cheated the Afghan to lend money on a forged pro-missory note. We have perused the record of the proceedings and thejudgment of the learned trial Judge. The facts prove that the petitionerappears to have been totally devoid of any moral senso, and in order torelieve his financial embarrassment, did not hesitate to conceive and carrythrough what this Court has described as being “ a series of very seriousoffences involving gross fraud in each
After an interval of thirteen years, the petitioner moves this Courtto readmit him to the ranks of the honourable profession, the good nameof whioh he disgraced.
That a legal practitioner who has been struck off the rolls for any“ deceit, malpractice, crime, or offence ” may bo readmitted to the pro-fession is undoubted. A series of decisions of this Court have laid downthe principles on which this Court acts in applications of this kind. Thequestion whether relief should or should not be granted must dependon the facts and circumstances of each case.
The general principles on which this Court acts may thus be summar-ised : A legal practitioner who has been struck off the rolls may bereadmitted to the profession if the Court is satisfied that he has atonedfor the errors of the past by an unbroken subsequent career of honestyand industry—In re Monerasinghe *. There must be proof of a career of
(1917) 4 C W. R. 370.
DIAS S.P.J.—/» re BatuwanUuiawe
honourable conduct for so long as to convince the Court that there hasbeen complete repentance, and a determination to persevere in honourableoonduct—A Homey-General v. EUawala1. The length of time for atone-ment and repentance depends on the facts of each case. If this Courtconsiders the application to have been made prematurely, it will refuseto aot—In re SeneviralneJ. One can conceive of cases where, owingto* the heinousness of the offence, it may be considered that a practitionerwho has been found to be guilty of such an offence should never beadmitted within the ranks of the honourable body of men which formsthe legal profession. In every case this Court, as the guardian of thehonour of the legal profession, must be very careful in readmitting to itsranks a man who has been guilty of a crime involving dishonesty. Acharacter once lost may, however, bo redeemed; and if this Court issatisfied that tho applicant had redeemed the past, it would be unjustto prevont him from onco more earning his living in the profession forwhioh he is qualified—In re Seneviratne*. The grounds upon whicha member of the legal profession may be restored to the roll are—apalpable and definite repentance, a manifestation of an honest careerduring a considerable period of time, and adequate reparation, or, atany rate, an offer of at! possible reparation in the man’s power—In re aProctor4. In that case, this Court said : “ We should be sorry to createa precedent which would make it an easy matter for a man to be oncemore restored to the legal profession The question of reinstatementdoponds, not only on whether tho applicant has redeemed his character,but also whether he may with propriety be allowed to return to thepractice of an honourable profession. An honest attempt to makereparation is regarded as some evidence of a redeemed character—In re Wijeysinghe6. In another case, this Court held that before apractitioner could be reinstated the Court has to be satisfied that theefforts of the applicant to live a decent and respectable life has beencontinued over a period sufficiently long to make it say with confidencethat he can be safely entrusted with the affairs of clients, and admittedto an honourable profession without that profession suffering degrada-tion—In re Wicieremasinghe 6.
Having regard to the nature of the offences of which the petitionerwas proved guilty, and all the facts and circumstances of the case, wedo not think that the application for reinstatement should be allowed.This case stands apart from the general run of cases of professionalmisconduct, and a solemn duty is cast upon this Court to make it clear,particularly at a time token public morality teat a low ebb, that it is notan easy matter for a person convicted of offences of this kind to berestored to tho ranks of an honourable profession, the good name of whichhe has degraded by his conduct.
The Solicitor-General has drawn our attention to the fact that this isthe first occasion when a member of the English Bar, who is also anAdvocate of tho Supreme Court, has been struck off the rolls. We are of
1 (1931) 29 N. L. R. at p. 32.
(1928) 30 N. L. R. 299.
(1936) 39 N. L. R. 476.
* (1925) 39 N. L. R. 517.■ (1939) 40 N. L. R. 385.» (1945) 46 N. L. R. 204.
BASNAYAKE J.—Katkirgamu v. Nadarajah
opinion that when the petitioner was disbarred in 1937, it was the dutyof the Registrar of this Court to have forthwith reported that fact to theInn to which the petitioner belonged. We direct that this action shouldnow be taken.
The application is dismissed with costs fixed at Rs. 105.
Nagalingam J.—I agree,
Windham J.—I agree.
In re BATUWANTUDAWE