We’ve had a bad luck of addressing a Supreme Court advocate in Delhi who eventually proved himself unprofessional, incompetent and money-driven. He had at least five months to fulfill the process of our marriage by the Special Marriage Act. However during all this time he absolutely did nothing but charged us for his procrastination 13000/- Rs.
For now I just start the story from the beginning. How have we got to know this “big” advocate? We were referred to him by my fiancé’s colleague’s brother. Long chain but this is how things work in India.
During the first meeting the advocate estimated his service of processing our marriage as of 55000/- Rs. That was an incredible amount for us, however we trusted and agreed for his conditions. He also asked for the advance of 20000Rs. We managed the money and my fiancé gave it to the advocate the other day. Only later we realized what a huge mistake we had done.
I should mention that I came to India in late March having a tourist visa valid upto September 15. And we contacted the advocate in mid-April. He was warned that he has time only till mid-September. Despite that he assured us that by that time we would have been married.
At first he kindly provided us with a list of the documents required for the marriage by the Special Marriage Act. Thankfully, we had everything and in a couple of days he got everything precisely. He accepted our docs and said that everything was fine. We were happy naively and eagerly waiting for the next steps. In a few days my fiancé called him and asked for the following steps. However, from this point, our happiness turned into a continuous never-ending struggle to get married.
Fight for the marriage begins…
We had a lease agreement (as we live in a rent flat) of 1.5 months. The advocate requested to make another one of 6 month saying that it was necessary for the process. My fiancé took care of it, talked to the landlord who kindly agreed to help. The lease agreement of 6 months now was done and the copy of it was received by the advocate. Once again we felt a ray of happiness that we moved further towards our marriage. How we were wrong.
In some days we received another piece of “good” news from the advocate. This time he needed the lease agreement to be registered at the competent authority. And for this the physical presence of the landlord was of ultimate importance. Moreover, the landlord had to present the property documents. (Here I should mention that our landlord is an old woman suffering from cancer. And she deals with such important things only after discussing every detail with her son).
As we had our advocate hired I expected that all this paper work was his duty. Unfortunately, the advocate was of different opinion. He only waited. I am not even sure that he was much concerned whether we were able to manage it or not. The negotiations with the landlord took time. He was not ready to go anywhere and especially with his property papers. When he finally agreed to go to the authority for the lease agreement registration another obstacle happened. The landlord by chance did not bring the documents proving that he was the owner of the flat he had given us in rent.
At this point nothing could surprise me already. My nervous system was shaken. I understood that we could not rely on anyone. No one wanted to help even the advocate who took 20000/- Rs. What was left for us to do? Everyday my fiancé was calling the landlord asking to present that paper to the authority to finish the process of the registration. For that we also paid 13000Rs. and that is despite the fee charged by the advocate. By the way, he assured us that those 13000Rs. was the last extra expenses that we had to pay. In a month or so we finally got the paper and with the help of the real estate agent the document reached the registration office. I could not believe that we finally moved on.
Months of struggle passed in a heartbeat. During that time the advocate did not show any interest. He called only once just to hurry us up with it. He himself did not contribute a tiniest thing in negotiations with the landlord and the lease agreement registration process.
Ray of hope dims
Now when my fiancé fulfilled all the advocate’s requirements regarding the documents, the advocate invited us for the meeting. Honestly, I wanted to see this “professional” that gave us so much paper work while being paid for the same from our pocket. I still had a ray of hope that something useful I was going to hear at that appointment.
Actually the point of meeting was to show him the originals of our documents. However, he had all the photocopies before. He informed us that the other day he made an appointment at the registrar office where our marriage registration was supposed to take place, and we had to go there together, means my fiancé, me and the advocate. The time was set 9.45 am. As both if us (my fiancé and me) are doing job, we had to take a leave.
At the registrar office
We arrived at the registrar office on time, at 9.30 am and were eagerly waiting for the advocate. 10 am – no sign of our “professional”. 10.30 am – he was not there. We became tired of sitting inside and took a walk near the building. At 10.45 am we saw him step in. He was late one hour. One hour. And what is more odd when he met us he even did not bother to apologize for being late. And he is called a “big” advocate, a “professional”! I didn’t hesitate to point out for him that the time was far more than 9.45am. For my comment he just swiftly threw: “My car tire was punctured.”
In the registrar office another shocking surprise was waiting for us. They said no appointment was ever made. Moreover, the employer said that the advocate’s “boy” lied having said that he was inquiring for the marriage of his brother. They also sent us back to the Embassy to certify the notarized translations of my personal documents. At that point I was all boiling inside. Why the advocate did not bother to find out it without our presence? In fact the day was simply wasted. At the registrar office they refused to provide any information as we came without an appointment.
At the Embassy
We had no choice but to go to the Embassy. There I explained to the notary what the registrar office wanted. The notary was sincerely surprised to the fact that they require so many documents. He calculated the amount for the service of certifying my notarized translations. It was no less but 11375/- Rs. Eleven thousand rupees more! I obviously do not carry this amount in my purse. When I informed the advocate that I had to pay this much, he calmly said that I had to otherwise marriage would not be possible. That time we realized what type of a “advocate” he was.
Moreover the Embassy’s notary assured me that for marriage I did not need that pile of documents. All I had to present was a passport and a certificate issued by the embassy stated my residence address and the fact that I was not married.
By the way, out last trip to the registrar office was in August and my return ticket was on September 13. In the registrar office they were very clear that the marriage would not be possible in such a short time.
What should we pay for?
We stopped working with the advocate. But we had one thing remaining to officially end up things with him. We wanted our money back. We wanted back the 20000 Rs. which he took. And guess what? After struggling for it, he returned… only 7000Rs. Where has he spent 13000 Rs.?
Just look at the fee memo which he has recently issued to justify his expenses. It stated professional charges are 3000/- Rs. Sorry, but what was professional in all this? Is that the charge for the meeting? Then I can say that the meeting was pointless. Was that the charge for the going to the registrar office? Sorry, but I wasted my leave for that so do I have the right to charge you too? We spent in vain at least 13000/- Rs. for the lease registration, 1000/- Rs. for the broker’s service and 500/- Rs. for the notary.
The other pay item in that fee memo is “Clerkage, Travelling Charges, Photocopy and Misc Expenses/Chares”. It amounts to 10000/- Rs. My God! How many photocopies has he made and where has he travelled? I want to see all these photocopies and receipts! All photocopies were provided by us. He has barely printed 8 pages extra. And what is that “Misc.Expenses”? I wanted a detailed receipt. And what I’ve got is a made-up piece of paper with exaggerated groundless charges while the work was never accomplished. And this is called “professional”? This is how “big” advocates work?