issued by Faiz Musthapha, President's Counsel, on the said dateand reads as follows:
"Mr. A.L.M. Anees, Attorney-at-law, was practicing inKandy under my father, the late S.M. Musthapha, as hisassistant. My father passed away on the 11th of February1988. Upon his death, Mr. Anees succeeded to myfather's practice and took over same at the samepremises. I became aware that he continued the practiceunder the name, style and firm of 'S.M. Musthapha,
Atto rney s-at- Law.'
I had no objection to his doing so" (emphasis added).
All this material the respondent had relied upon, clearly indicatethat the respondent had been functioning as an assistant of lateS.M. Musthapha. Even the letter issued by Faiz Musthapha,President's Counsel, which was referred to earlier, introduces therespondent as S.M. Musthapha's, assistant and not as his partner.
On a careful examination of the contention of the respondentand the supporting evidence of his position, it is quite clear that hehas not tendered any material to support his version that he hadbeen functioning as a partner of the late S.M.Musthapha.

80Sri Lanka Law Reports[2008] 2 Sri L.R
In cross-examination, the respondent submitted that, he haddiscussed the possibility of registering a partnership between thedeceased S.M. Musthapha and himself with S.M. Musthapha's son,Faiz Musthapha, President's Counsel and whether he had anyobjection to such registration.

In support of this contention, the respondent relied on the
dated 18.02.2006. The said document was
document marked
Rule against an Attorney-at-Law
SC(Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, J.)81_
As pointed out earlier when observations were called on thecomplaint made against the respondent, he did not take up theposition that he had indicated to the deceased S.M. Musthapha,about the registration of a business as a partnership under thename, style and firm of S.M. Musthapha, Attorneys-at-Law. At thatstage his position was that he had functioned as an assistant to thedeceased S.M. Musthapha. Later at the inquiry, he changed hisposition from being an assistant of the late S.M. Musthapha to thatof his partner. The only piece of evidence he tendered in support ofhis version was the letter given to him by Faiz Musthapha,President's Counsel, which I had reproduced earlier. That letter,however does not indicate any discussion the respondent, asclaimed by him in his evidence, had with the said Faiz Musthapha,President's Counsel at the time of his father, S.M. Musthapha'sdemise, of registering a partnership. For that matter, the contentsof the letter does not indicate any kind of discussion the respondenthad with the deceased S.M. Musthapha's son. The letter clearlystates that he 'became aware’ that the respondent had continuedthe practice under the name, style and firm of S.M. Musthapha,Attorneys-at-Law and that he had no objection for such action.
The aforesaid letter, it is to be noted, has been obtained by therespondent well after the Rule was issued. The said Rule was

of the respondent that there was a discussion with Faiz Musthapha,President's Counsel, in regard to the registration of a partnership atthe time of the death of S.M.Musthapha. It is not disputed that,
respondent had not placed
except for the document marked
, does not support the contention
Accordingly, the document
The said letter, is only in support of the position thatFaiz Musthapha, President's Counsel had no objection to therespondent carrying on the practice in the name, style and firm ofhis late father. Furthermore although the respondent contendedthat he and the deceased had a partnership from the very
his father's assistant until his demise in 1988. It would not benecessary to spell out in detail the difference between a partnerand an assistant in a law firm and their respective legalimplications.
, refers to the respondent as
beginning in 1975, the document

was written on
issued on 08.10.2004 whereas the letter

82Sri Lanka Law Reports(2008) 2 Sri L.R
any other material before this Court, in support of his contention.Although he had referred to the intention of entering intopartnership, there is not even an iota of evidence to support thisposition. Also, if there was an intention from the time he joined thedeceased S.M. Musthapha, in 1975 could it be believed that for 13years, until S.M. Musthapha's demise in 1988, that this could notget materialised? During a time span of 13 years, weren't the otherassistants, whom the respondent had referred to, as had workedwith the deceased and the respondent, aware of such an intention?If so, wouldn't the respondent have called them to establish theexistence of the partnership or for that matter, even the intention ofestablishing such a partnership? If, as the respondent claims, therewas such an idea of a partnership for over a period of 13 years,couldn't there be an indication, documentary or oral of such anintention?
The respondent relied on the fact that the business had beenregistered under the business name 'S.M. Musthapha' and thegeneral nature of the business being "Legal practice -Attorneys-at-Law and Notaries Public' (P4). He also referred to the letter issuedin February 2006 by Faiz Musthapha, President's Counsel, insupport of his contention that there had been an agreement withthe late S.M. Musthapha to enter into a partnership with therespondent. However, as has been examined, it is abundantly clearthat the respondent had not been able to satisfy this Court bysubmitting oral or documentary evidence to indicate that it hadbeen the intention of the late S.M. Musthapha and the respondentto enter into a partnership.
In the circumstances I answer the question, which was raised asto whether there had been a partnership between the late S.M.Musthapha and the respondent, in the negative.
The question thus arises as to the conduct of the respondent inplacing the signature and using the rubber stamp of a deceasedAttorney-at-Law in the absence of a partnership.
The conduct of the respondent becomes questionable when oneconsiders the two documents marked P3 and P12, which wereproduced before this Court at the proceedings. In both thesedocuments, attention of the Court was drawn not to the contents of
Rule against an Attorn ey-at-Law
££(Dr. Shi rani Bandaranavake. J.)
the letter but only to the contents of the letter heads. The firstdocument marked P3 Is dated 28.10.1995 and the letter headreads thus:
"Musthapha & AneesAttorneys-at-Law & NPA.L.M. Anees LL.B. (Cey.)

The document marked P12, which bears letters of a differentfont, contains the names as 'Musthapha and Anees', but gives adifferent address and telephone number and the letter is dated
A careful examination of both these letter heads clearly indicatesthat the 1 st document marked P3 was written seven (7) years afterthe business name was registered and the second letter markedP12 had been written in 2004, which is sixteen(16) years after thesaid registration. It is to be noted that the said business name wasregistered not as Musthapha and Anees, but as S.M. Musthapha -Attorneys-at-Law.
On being questioned of these letter heads, the respondentcontended that there were excess of letter heads that were printedprior to 1988 and therefore he continued to use them even after thedemise of S.M. Musthapha. It is to be noted that, whenobservations were called from the respondent by the Registrar ofthe Supreme Court, the respondent had used one of theaforementioned letter heads, which contained the names"Musthapha and Anees' (P13).
The respondent also admitted that he had been using a rubberstamp, which contained a signature similar to that of late S.M.Musthapha.

84Sri Lanka Lav/ Reports[2008] 2 Sri L.R
As stated earlier, the Rule against the respondent refers to theconduct of the respondent and stated that he had committed 'deceitand malpractice1 within the ambit of Section 42(2) of the JudicatureAct.
Referring to deceitful conduct Dr. A.R.B. Amerasinghe (supra,pg. 157) clarifies as to what kind of action would constitute deceitfulconduct and stated that,
"Deceit may amount to misconduct even though the actwas not done in the performance of his professionalduties. The Canadian Code makes 'committing, whetherprofessionally or in the lawyer's personal capacity, anyact of fraud or dishonesty, e.g. by knowingly making afalse tax return or falsifying a document, even withoutfraudulent intent and whether or not prosecutedtherefore' a violation of the rule requiring integrity.Therefore, being dishonourable or questionable conduct,disciplinary action would be warranted" (emphasisadded).
Section 42(2) of the Judicature Act, refers to deceit, malpractice,crime or offence and although this section was similar to Section 35of the Administration of Justice Law, the words 'or other conductunworthy of an Attorney-at-law' which were in Section 35 of theAdministration of Justice Law were not incorporated into Section42(2) of the Judicature Act. Considering the scope of Section 42(2)in the light of the above, Amerasinghe, J., in DhammikaChandratilake v Susantha Mahes Moonesingh&h clearly statedthat the word 'offence' in Section 42(2) of the Judicature Actcontained a wide meaning, which would include all forms ofunprofessional conduct in the sense of the 'misconduct' of anAttorney-at-Law in the process of his professional work. Thus,according to Amerasinghe,J.,
“In Re ArthenayakeP) Seneviratne, J. at 349 said that in theinterest of the Bar and that of the public, Section 42(2) of theJudicature Act should be amended by the addition of thewords 'or other conduct unworthy of an attorney-at-law’.Although the phrase certainly did usefully put the matterbeyond any doubt, and might have been retained out of an
Rule against an Attorney-at-Law
SC(Dr. Shirani Bandaranavake, J.)
abundance of caution, which, with great respect, is what 1 thinkSeneviratne, J., meant, I do not think the removal of the words'or other conduct unworthy of an attorney-at-law' hasdiminished the powers of the court, I am inclined to think thatthe word 'offence' in Section 42(2) of the Judicature Act has awider meaning than that given to it in the Penal Code andCode of Criminal Procedure. I think it means disciplinaryoffence and includes, conviction for an offence by acompetent court, conduct that is criminal in character,malpractice – whether the professional misconduct involvesmoral turpitude or not deceit and all • other forms ofunprofessional conduct in the sense of misconduct the courtought to have taken into account at the time of the admissionof any attorney-at-law in deciding whether he was a person ofgood repute."
Considering the matter in question, it is obvious that therespondent was only an Assistant of the late S.M. Musthapha, whohad been a well-known legal luminary. Although the respondentclaimed of a partnership he had had with the late S.M. Musthapha,as stated earlier, the respondent did not produce any material toestablish his contention.
In a situation, where there was no established partnership, therespondent had taken steps to file proxies, place the seal and signdocuments as S.M. Musthapha which has the effect of misleadingnot only the general public, but as correctly pointed out by thelearned Senior State Counsel, also the Courts.
As pointed out by Amerasinghe, J. in Dhammika Chandratilakev Susantha Mahes Moonesinghe (supra), 'we do not have a rightto practice, but only a privilege conferred by the State, providedcertain conditions are fulfilled'. Thus the right to practice, accordingto Macdonell, C.J. in Attorney-General v Ariyaratnd3) is a revocablefranchise. Howard C.J. in Re Brito (4), following with approval thedecision by Mukerjee, J. in Emperor Rajani Kante Bose et aA5) tooka similar view and stated that,
"The practice of the law is not a business open to all who wishto engage in it, it is a personal right or privilege limited toselected persons of good character with special qualifications
86Sri Lanka Law Reports[2008] 2 Sri L.R
duly ascertained and certified; it is in the nature of a franchisefrom the State conferred only for merit and may be revokedwhenever misconduct renders the person holding the licenceunfit to be entrusted with the powers and duties of his office.Generally speaking the test to be applied is whether themisconduct is of such a description as shows him to be anunfit and unsafe person to enjoy the privilege and manage thebusiness of others as (an attorney-at-law), in other words, unfitto discharge the duties of his office and unsafe becauseunworthy of confidence" (emphasis added).
Rule 60 of the Supreme Court (Conduct of an Etiquette forAttorneys-at-Law) Rules of 1988 clearly states that an Attorney-at-Law must not conduct himself in any manner, which would bereasonably regarded as dishonourable and Rule 61 states that anAttorney-at-Law shall not conduct himself in any manner unworthyof an Attorney-at-Law.
On a consideration of all the circumstances of this matter, theaction taken by the respondent not only amounts to professionalmisconduct, but also a conduct, which is dishonourable andunworthy of an Attorney-at-Law.
For the reasons aforesaid, I find the respondent guilty of deceitand malpractice within the ambit of Section 42 of the Judicature Act.
Considering the circumstances of this matter, l am of the viewthat it is appropriate to refer to the words of Schneider, A.C.J. in ReSeneviratne^6 which were followed by Amerasinghe, J. inDhammika Chandratilake v Susantha Mahes Moonesinghe (supra)that I can only hope that this decision will have the salutary effectof awakening in Anees 'a higher sense of honour and duty'.
The Rule is, therefore, made absolute. I order that therespondent, A.L.M. Anees, Attorney-at-Law be suspended frompractice for a period of two (2) years commencing from today.
SOMAWANSA, J.-I agree.
Rule made absolute.
Attorney-at-Law suspended for 2 years.