Expressing displeasure over some lawyers not wearing proper dress or adopting a very casual approach during virtual hearings, the Allahabad High Court has warned that the virtual hearing is also a complete Court proceeding. It should not be taken lightly.
A single-judge bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery passed this order while hearing a criminal misc bail application filed by Jyoti.
The Court said, “We all are going through difficult times for last one-and-a-half years due to Covid-19 pandemic and keep trying to adopt different ways to adjust ourselves to overcome unexpected eventualities. Adhering to the Covid protocol, wearing a mask, keeping adequate distance, getting vaccinated are few to mention. The Courts in order to keep dispensation of justice continue have switched over to virtual mode for hearing cases. The Courts have relaxed advocate’s dress code, exempting coat and gown while appearing through video conference in the modalities issued from time to time.”
“The Bar Council of Advocates has issued an administrative order dated May 14, 2020, that, it is notified (vide Bar Council of India Resolution dated May 13, 2020) for information of all Advocates of the country, that considering the medical advice and also the circular dated May 13, 2020, issued by the Supreme Court of India, all Advocates may presently wear “Plain White Shirt/White Salwar- Kameez/White Saree With Plain White Neck Band” during hearings/proceedings before all the High Courts and all other Courts, Tribunals, Commissions and all other forums and no coats or Gowns/Robes are/is required to be worn during such time period during which the threat of the spread of coronavirus looms large and/or till such time the Council further issues another Administrative order modifying/ overriding this order.”
The Court noted that,
“Of late the Court, other High Courts, even the Supreme Court had witnessed various incidents, where many advocates adopted very casual approach while appearing through virtual mode and appeared wearing vest, t-shirt or coloured shirt, in puja attire, while driving scooter, while taking a leisurely walk, sitting inside a stationary vehicle, from market places, places with noisy surrounding, places with unpleasant backgrounds, keep talking on phone or not paying attention to the court though video and audio tab remained on, even an advocate appeared lounging on the bed and a lady advocate with face pack on”.
“Appearance of advocates in causal attire is very inappropriate and unacceptable in any circumstance. Advocates should understand that their appearance for hearing of cases through virtual mode from their house or office or chamber is like a extended court room and it is as serious as attending a court proceedings inside a Court. They are required to wear ‘Plain White Shirt/White Salwar- Kameez/White Saree With Plain White Neck Band’ while appearing through virtual mode from a premise where while addressing the court, they have decent and presentable background with peaceful surrounding and to remain attentive towards the Court. It would be appreciated if they wear black coat also,” the Court said.
The Court has earlier observed while hearing the case through virtual mode, an advocate, appearing on behalf of one of the parties, appeared wearing a coloured shirt and has not shown any remorse despite objections to his conduct.
“The office-bearers of the Bar Associations of the High Court should advise its members, not to adopt any casual approach while appearing before this Court through virtual mode which may cause hurdle in the administration of justice. The Registrar General of the Court is directed to send a copy of the order to the Bar Association of High Court forthwith,” the Court ordered.
The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on July 28, 2021.