Allahabad High Court on Friday declined to hear a lawyer who was appearing before the bench for a virtual hearing while he was riding a scooter. The matter has been adjourned to July 17.
“Counsel for the petitioner tried to address the Court while riding a scooter. The Court, therefore, declines to hear him. He should be careful in future even if the hearing is to take place through video conferencing,” said Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi.
Lawyer Fined Rs 500 Fine to ‘Restore Dignity Of Legal Profession’
In February 2021, Orissa High Court imposed a cost of Rs 500 on a lawyer for not wearing a band during a virtual hearing. The court noted that by not wearing a neckband during an argument, the learned counsel has violated the dress code prescribed under the Advocates Act.
“The profession is solemn in nature and its profundity is complemented by its attire. Being an Advocate, he is expected to appear before the Court in a dignified manner with proper dress, even if it is a virtual mode,” noted Justice S.K. Panigrahi.
DRT Lawyer Fined Rs 10K For Attending VC From Car
The Presiding Officer Debt Recovery Tribunal-I Ahmedabad, Vinay Goel imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 upon an advocate Vishal Gori for addressing the court while sitting in a car.
The penalty was imposed on the basis of a recent Gujarat High Court order which directed all the lawyers to attend virtual courts either from their residences or offices. The High Court issued the order after an advocate was found smoking in a car during an video conferencing hearing.
Lawyer Addressing SC in T-Shirt While Lying On Bed
During a virtual hearing, a lawyer appeared before the Supreme Court wearing a T-shirt while lying on a bed. He tendered his unconditional apology.
“This court is of the view that when counsel appear in court video hearings, they should be presentable and avoid showing images, which are not appropriate and can only be tolerable in the privacy of their homes. We are all passing through trying times and hearings by virtual courts have become an order of the day. Yet minimum court etiquette in terms of what can be considered decent dress, background, etc. should be followed, given the public nature of the hearings,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat noted.
“You Are Reckless”: SC Slammed Lawyer Who Appeared Shirtless During VC
“Even after seven-eight months you are so reckless,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat.
In December 2020, the Supreme Court slammed a lawyer for appearing before it while being shirtless. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta called the behaviour “unpardonable”. That was a second instance within the past two months as another lawyer had appeared shirtless before the top court.
Senior Advocate Caught Smoking Hookah During VC
A video of senior counsel Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan was doing rounds on the internet showing the lawyer apparently taking a puff of hookah during a virtual court hearing. In the video clip, he can be seen holding a sheaf of paper in front of his face, but still the smoke can be seen escaping from the side.
Contempt Proceedings Over Sharing VC Screenshot on Linkedin
In August 2020, Calcutta High Court ordered contempt proceedings against an advocate on record Shiv Ratan Kakrania for posting a screenshot of a virtual courtroom proceeding on Linkedin. However, the court dropped the proceedings after advocate Kakrania tendered an unconditional apology.
Ex-CIC Calls For Making Virtual Hearings Permanent
In April 2021, former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi made a suggestion to Supreme Court e-committee chairperson Justice DY Chandrachud to make the virtual hearing a permanent feature of the Indian judicial system. He made the suggestion saying the draft report placed by the committee in public domain lacks any real evaluation of the effectiveness of the earlier efforts and recommendations.
“The Supreme Court E-Committee has been around since 2005 and it appears its real achievements are inadequate,” Gandhi submitted. Since 2020, most of the courts have switched from traditional in-courts hearings to virtual hearings due to the disastrous Covid-19 pandemic.
What is your instance on making virtual hearings permanent? Do you believe that justice can be made accessible, affordable and speedy with e-courts? Or do you think hybrid hearings will be a better option?