Recently, the Orissa High Court issued an order directing lawyers to maintain courtroom decorum during virtual hearings, citing its "horrible" experiences. The order recounts the most recent instance where a counsel participated in a hearing from a moving vehicle and when asked for an explanation, he told that he is rushing to Puri and is unable to argue his case from his residence at Cuttack.
The single-judge bench of Justice BiswanathRath held that “This Court seriously condemns the conducting of a case inside a vehicle on road. In the Covid-19 situation extending arguing place beyond the Court, premises does not mean permitting one to argue matter inside a vehicle, from his lawn and from his drawing-room allowing his wife to join him in the process of proceeding. Counsel should argue at the minimum from his/her home or temporary residence and there should be the maintenance of minimum decorum.”
In one of the instances, an advocate continued to eat at a video conference despite requests to stop doing so, the order said.
Subsequently, the court has directed the interim committee of the Bar Council and the Bar Association to ensure that advocates do not breach the decorum as well as decency in Court proceedings, Earlier, a lawyer had to issue an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for attending a hearing while lying on his bed, wearing a T-shirt. Similarly, a lawyer wore a baniyan
(vest) for a hearing via video conference after which the Rajasthan High Court had to ask the High Court Bar Association to urge all advocates to appear in uniform for virtual hearings. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan was also seen smoking a hookah during a virtual hearing against which a petition was filed in the Supreme Court to review his Senior designation. [READ ORDER]