What is a Vakalatnama?
A Vakalatnama is a document in writing, appointing a lawyer or pleader to represent the clients matter in a court of law.
4.(1) No pleader Shall act for any person in any Court unless he has been appointed for the purpose by such person by a document in writing signed by such person or by his recognized agent or by some other person duly authorized by or under a power-of-attorney to make such appointment.
What is the meaning of VP or VP Filed in the Court proceedings and Roznama?
VP means Vakil Patra, which is another name for Vakalatnama. Most courts use the term VP Filed in their Roznama or online records, to indicate that the Vakalatnama was filed.
What does the Vakalatnama contain?
The Vakalatnama contains:
- The date on which it is executed.
- The name of case / cases for which the pleader(s) has been appointed
- The name of the court / courts for which the pleader has been appointed
- The name of the party appointing the Advocate and the parties authority to appoint (Eg: Power of Attorney Holder or Recognised Agent)
- If not executed by the party in person, then the document supporting the appointment
- The name of the lawyer / pleader / advocate(s) so appointed
- The address of the pleader, for service of documents
- The case title / number to identify the case for which the appointment has been made
- The powers / decision making authority given to the advocate. This may limit the advocate only to obtain certified copies, or
- Signature of the party or parties (with the name of the party or parties next to it)
- Signature of the pleader(s) or lawyer(s) accepting the vakalatnama
A vakalatnama gives a lot of authority to the pleader. It should be executed by the client with great care and scrutiny. Clauses like compromising the matter, appointing another Legal Practitioner, accepting money etc. may sometimes be detrimental to the interest of the client.
Who is authorised to give a Vakalatnama?
A Vakalatnama can be given by:
- The party (in person)
- A person holding a power of attorney for the party
- A person carrying on trade or business on behalf of the party in that jurisdiction
2. The recognized agents of parties by whom such appearances, applications and acts may be made or done are-
(a) persons holding powers-of-attorney, authorizing them to make and do such appearances, applications and acts on behalf of such parties;
(b) persons carrying on trade or business for and in the names of parties not resident within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Court within which limits the appearance, application or acts made or done, in matters connected with such trade or business only, where no other agent is expressly authorized to make and do such appearances, applications and acts.
A vakalatnama can be given jointly by multiple parties in the case, to appoint the same pleader or set of pleaders.
Whom is the Vakalatnama given to?
The vakalatnama can be given to one or many advocates / pleaders. Each of their names must be specifically mentioned.
What is done after the Vakalatnama is given?
After the Vakalatnama is given, it is filed in court within the prescribed period.
(2) Every such appointment shall be filed in Court and shall, for the purposes of sub-rule (1), be deemed to be in force until determined with the leave of the court by a writing signed by the client or the pleader, as the case may tie, and filed in Court or until the client or the pleader dies, or until all proceedings in.the suit are ended so far as regards the client.
Is the Vakalatnama a Power of Attorney?
Yes. For all practical purposes, the Vakalatnama is a Power of Attorney.
Does a Vakalatnama need to be stamped?
Yes.Advocates Welfare Fund Stamps need to be affixed to the Vakalatnama.
As per section 27 of the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2001:
27. Vakalatnama to bear stamps:
1. Every advocate shall affix stamp of a value of-
a. five rupees on every Vakalatnama filed by him in a District Court or a court subordinate to the District Court;
b. ten rupees on every Vakalatnama filed by him in a tribunal or other authority or a High Court or the Supreme Court: Provided that the appropriate Government may prescribe the value of the stamps not exceeding twenty-five rupees to be affixed under this sub-section: Provided further that the appropriate Government may prescribe different value of the stamps to be affixed on every Vakalatnama to be filed in a District Court, or a court subordinate to the District Court or a tribunal or other authority or a High Court or the Supreme Court.
2. The value of the stamp shall neither be the cost in a case nor be collected in any event from the client.
3. Any contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) by any advocate shall disentitle him either in whole or in part to the benefits of the Fund and the Trustee Committee shall report such contravention to the State Bar Council for appropriate action.
4. Every stamp affixed on every Vakalatnama filed before a District Court or a court subordinate to the District Court or a tribunal or other authority or a High Court or the Supreme Court shall be cancelled in such manner as may be prescribed.
Is the Vakalatnama different for different Courts?
No. Since the vakalatnama has no specific form, if it contains all the required details, it can be used in any court.
What is a Vakalatnama called in other languages or countries?
Vakalatnama is also interchangably called vakkalathu, vakil patra, mukhtyarnama.
What is the duration of the effect of the Vakalatnama? Can a Vakalatnama be withdrawn?
A Vakalatnama is said to be in force until:
- The client dies or
- The pleader / lawyer dies or
- The client withdraws the Vakalatnama and the Court permits such withdrawal or
- The lawyer / pleader withdraws the Vakalatnama and the Court permits such withdrawal or
- The proceedings of the case are ended
(2) Every such appointment shall be filed in Court and shall, for the purposes of sub-rule (1), be deemed to be in force until determined with the leave of the court by a writing signed by the client or the pleader, as the case may be, and filed in Court or until the client or the pleader dies, or until all proceedings in.the suit are ended so far as regards the client.
Bombay High Court Rule:
Rules framed by the High Court under section 34(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 (Act 25 of 1961)
A party who wishes to discharge the Advocate engaged by him may apply to the Court for an order of discharge by following a similar procedure and the Court, if it is satisfied, may pass orders discharging the Advocate and while doing so impose such terms and conditions as it may deem proper.
Can a client argue the case in person even if he has given a Vakalatnama to a lawyer / pleader?
CPC Order III Rule 1
1. Appearances, etc., may be In person, by recognized agent or by pleader.- Any appearance, application or act in or to any court, required or authorised by law to be made or done by a party in such court, may, except where otherwise expressly provided by any law for the time being in force, be made or done by the party in person, or by his recognised agent, or by a pleader appearing, applying or acting, as the case may be, on his behalf:
Provided that any such appearance shall, if the court so directs, be made by the party in person.
Can a lawyer who has been given a Vakalatnama, appoint another lawyer to plead the case in the same or different court?
Yes – If there is a specific clause in the Vakalatnama allowing him to do so.
- Uday Shankar Triyar vs Ram Kalewar Prasad Singh & Anr
The defects routinely found in Vakalatnamas filed in courts
- Ramappayya vs Subbamma And Ors. (1947) 2 MLJ 580
Whether an advocate-or a pleader to whom a Vakalatnama is given, has power in the absence of express authorisation to compromise the suit on behalf of the party for whom he appears.