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RK Anand avoids jail, accepts Supreme Court offer to work for free & BCI donation

RK Anand swears penance (picture by IBN)RK Anand swears penance (picture by IBN) Exclusive: Former senior advocate RK Anand, whom the Supreme Court had found guilty of contempt of court for influencing a key witness in the BMW-hit-and-run case, filed an affidavit in the court undertaking to donate Rs 21 lakh to the Bar Council of India (BCI), and take on only pro bono legal work and free legal aid for one year.

He also tendered an unconditional apology to the court and prayed to be discharged under the Contempt of Courts Act 1971.

Anand, formerly a renowned criminal lawyer, was convicted for attempting to influence witness Sunil Kulkarni in the 1999 high profile hit-and-run case, and was stripped of his senior designation.

Last week he sought permission from the Supreme Court to get back to practice, pleading that he had already tendered an unqualified apology and was only giving free legal aid ever since the conviction.

The bench of justices GS Singhvi, Aftab Alam and CK Prasad directed him to choose between the prescribed six months of imprisonment for his offence under the Act, or to donate Rs 20 lakh to the BCI for developing the library or computer centre of a law college and undertake to provide free legal services for one year.

They asked Anand to inform his choice to the court within a week.

Stating that since the matter “has been pending for quite some time”, and this has given him the opportunity to “introspect”, Anand filed the affidavit in addition to the apologies from January 2010 and May 2011 which he had already submitted to the court.

In the affidavit, dated 20 September, Anand undertook to send the Rs 21 lakh cheque to the BCI “immediately on passing of final order” by the Supreme Court in his case.

He also promised to “not make any earning out of the legal profession by way of practice /conference/consultation/legal opinion/arbitration etc. in any form whatsoever for a period of 1 year from the date of order on which the apology is accepted by this Hon’ble Court”.

He further stated that during that one year his free legal aid services “can be utilized by the Delhi Legal Services Authority, Patiala House Courts, Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority, High Court of Delhi, New Delhi/Supreme Court Legal Services Authority, Supreme Court, New Delhi”.

He prayed to be discharged of the contempt charges and for remittance of punishment under the proviso to Section 12 of the Act.

Anand was represented by advocate Dharmendra Kumar Sinha.

Luthra & Luthra partner Vijay Sondhi and senior counsel Harish Salve represented NDTV, which had been directed to assist the court in the contempt proceedings.

Click here to download the affidavit

Photo by IBN Live

Click to show 22 comments
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Like +4 Object -0 Aja 26 Sep 12, 10:34
He deserves it...
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Like +7 Object -0 Enforcer 26 Sep 12, 12:22  interesting
Quoting Aja:
He deserves it...

No, he deserves jail! Are we as a country forever going to live under the tyranny of the wealthy?
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Like +4 Object -1 B 26 Sep 12, 11:44
Shame on the Supreme Court for not sending him to prison and letting him off so leniently and shame on the BCI for not expelling him.
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Like +2 Object -1 Saroj 26 Sep 12, 16:06
I fully endorse the view.
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Like +1 Object -0 Dahi Balla and Asociates 27 Sep 12, 17:36
i am available to be engaged as your lawyer for any contempt of court charges that you may be charged with. I wont take any fees as I too have given an undertaking to the courts not to charge any money.

However, I do need a new car.
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Like +0 Object -0 anon 26 Sep 12, 12:01
This is unprecedented in Indian legal history!
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Like +6 Object -0 Disgusted Lawyer 26 Sep 12, 13:01  interesting
Does the bar need his dirty money?
Cancel his license.
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Like +5 Object -0 Anon 26 Sep 12, 13:22  interesting
While he probably deserves to go to prison, I cant help but agree with this innovative decision.

His going to prison is not going to help anyone and is only going to cost the taxpayer.

This way, he will at least be of some service to society instead.
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Like +1 Object -0 All ye righteous 26 Sep 12, 13:46
Well we all know everyone does it, its bad for him because he got caught.. and it is no mean feat to continue depleting your savings (yeah yeah [...] savings!!) for years... so he HAS been punished adequately now leave him alone
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Like +2 Object -0 Dahi Balla and Asociates 26 Sep 12, 15:23
heard of benami? As if he is not going to ask for money to be transferred to the names of his relatives or others?
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Like +17 Object -0 Señor Agape 26 Sep 12, 15:09  interesting  top rated
So, we still have no idea what it takes to lose your law license. Not paying your fees on time would probably result in cancellation of your right to practice, but apparently subverting justice will not.

And why should we inflict a disgraced, corrupt man on the poor? How is that doing them a favor? It's like offering them adulterated medicines from someone convicted of adulteration. The court will next have Satyam's auditors doing accounts for NGOs.
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Like +1 Object -0 Junior 26 Sep 12, 15:48
you get my vote for one of funniest comment ever on LI .. by an Agape.
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Like +0 Object -0 JA 26 Sep 12, 16:00
Quoting Señor Agape:
So, we still have no idea what it takes to lose your law license. Not paying your fees on time would probably result in cancellation of your right to practice, but apparently subverting justice will not.

And why should we inflict a disgraced, corrupt man on the poor? How is that doing them a favor? It's like offering them adulterated medicines from someone convicted of adulteration. The court will next have Satyam's auditors doing accounts for NGOs.

Excellent observation.
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Like +3 Object -0 anon 26 Sep 12, 16:28
I wonder what stops a man of questionable integrity to take money from the other side when representing the poor! He will try to ensure that he gets his 21 lacs back!
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Like +0 Object -0 satvchan 26 Sep 12, 17:01
See wat is happening in Spl CBI courts , fishes n markets
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Like +1 Object -0 Lawyer 26 Sep 12, 17:07
According to Supreme Court verdict, now any lawyer can misuse his/her position and get away with one year pro-bono work and donation to BCI. He/she already could have made millions so its easier for them to sustain for a year doing pro-bono work and donation to BCI. What a pitty BCI which is required to manage vast number of lawyers in the country however, they seek and rely on funding from the culprit lawyer(s). Shame on BCi if they accept such donation. BCI- a free advice- take lessons from Solicitors Regulation Authority as to how to manage and keep a watch on the conduct of solicitors in UK.

Good job SC, keep it up. Setting good examples for the lawyers in the Country.
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Like +1 Object -0 Señor Agape 27 Sep 12, 10:51
Here's a story idea, Kian. Contrast BCI treatment of Anand with the treatment of the auditor's in the Satyam's scandal.

An excerpt from Mahesh Sharm's related note on ZDNet:

"Outside of Satyam, the scandal has claimed some big scalps. Its auditor PwC India was ordered to pay over US$30 million in fines for offences related to the fraud, including non-compliance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and violations of federal securities laws.

Earlier this year, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) also imposed a life ban and maximum penalty on PwC India's audit partner, Srinivas Talluri. It previously banned two PwC India audit managers."
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Like +1 Object -0 Dahi Balla and Asociates 27 Sep 12, 17:30
in my observation, the offences in both these cases are of different magnitude. I am not distinguishing the moral turpitude involved in this. A person steeling Rs. 100 and Rs. 1 crore are both thieves.

However, the satyam fraud dealt with public money and the number of people affected by this scam were much more as compared to the R.K.Anand case (barring the argument that any act against justice is a crime against society).

the magnitude of the crime may not be relevant for determining the guilt but is a relevant consideration in relation to determination of punishment.

Just my understanding on the disparity in punishment.
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Like +0 Object -0 Anon 27 Sep 12, 13:04
Pro-bono ;)
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Like +0 Object -0 Anonymous 28 Sep 12, 10:43
This is a good thing. I have always felt that imprisonment or cancellation of license does not do society a favour. What would help in cases like this would be compelling the guilty to do work pro bono. He is, from what I understand, a very competent lawyer.

However, as a note of caution, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that "pro bono" in this case would mean: "I will not disclose my income to the government: black money"
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Like +0 Object -0 Meerkat 28 Sep 12, 11:17
Just another criminal lawyer doing his job.
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Like +1 Object -0 Anon 28 Sep 12, 12:26
Would this kind of option for choosing punishment be available for aam aadmi?
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