'Can't argue from garden': Orissa high court on 'horrible' virtual hearings

9 months ago 28
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The Orissa High Court has asked the State Bar Council and High Court Bar Association to advise the lawyers to maintain basic decorum and decency in court proceedings while appearing via video conferencing.

Expressing his unhappiness over the lawyers’ conduct while appearing for the cases via video conferencing, HC judge Justice Biswanath Rath said arguing for cases outside court premises does not mean doing the same from inside a running vehicle, from the garden lawn and from the drawing room, along with a spouse.

While hearing a civil miscellaneous petition that was dismissed, justice Rath remarked that lawyers should argue at the minimum from his/her home or temporary residence and there should be maintenance of minimum decorum.

Justice Rath referred to a case in which a lawyer argued his case from inside a moving car pleading that he had attended another case at Puri and so was unable to argue his case from his residence at Cuttack. “This court seriously condemns the conducting of a case inside a vehicle on the road,” Justice Rath said.

“In the Covid-19 situation, extending arguing place beyond the court premises does not mean permitting one to argue matter inside a vehicle, from a lawn or from a drawing room allowing the wife to join in the proceedings. This court has had some horrible experiences while conducting court through video conference. A lawyer after finishing his case was joined by his wife even though the video-conference was still on. When the situation did not improve after frequent requests, the court had to disconnect the petitioner’s connection,” remarked justice Rath.

In another instance, a lawyer argued his case from his garden on the plea that he could not get proper net connectivity from inside his house, which proved to be wrong. The judge remarked that the same lawyer while appearing through video conferencing went on eating.

In June this year, the SC had upbraided a lawyer who appeared before a virtual court lying in bed while dressed in a T-shirt. The advocate had to tender an unconditional apology to the apex court later on. In April this year, a lawyer in Rajasthan high court had appeared in a bail hearing through video-conferencing dressed in a vest. The HC later pulled up the lawyer for not being properly dressed.

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