Delhi HC expresses displeasure over lawyers arguing in video conferencing hearing from parks & roads

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Thursday said it is 'simply shocking' that advocates are arguing or attending matters through video-conferencing while being on 'roads, sitting in parks and even running up on stairs', making it difficult for the court to conduct proceedings as are not audible properly.

The high court expressed its displeasure and said that according to the video conferencing rules, the lawyers and parties are supposed to join the proceedings from a quiet place from where they are at least properly audible, even if not visible.

Justice Prathiba M Singh was annoyed with the regular disturbance caused in the virtual hearing due to poor internet connection and lawyers' arguing their matters from such places from where they were not audible properly.

“It is very difficult to conduct proceedings like this. For the last 45 minutes I have managed to hear only one matter because the counsel was inaudible and because half of the time goes in answering the lawyer who says ‘Am I audible’ for 20 times,” the judge said.

Justice Singh further said she will have to start issuing a note that advocates who are not in a place from where they are properly audible, will not be allowed to attend the virtual proceedings.

“Advocates are on the road, sitting in parks and even running up on stairs while attending or arguing the matter. This is simply shocking. You have to adhere to the VC rules,” she said.

As per the Delhi High Court Video Conferencing Rules, the participants shall be situated in a quiet location, properly secured and have sufficient internet coverage.

Any unwarranted disturbance caused during video conferencing may if the presiding judge so directs render the proceedings non-est, the rules stated, adding that all participants’ cell phones shall remain switched off or in aeroplane mode during the proceedings.

The judge also said the lawyers should check their internet connection while participating in the virtual proceedings and said even if they are not properly visible, they shall be audible.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was logged in for some other case in Justice Singh’s court, said the fraternity should accept with grace the facility of virtual proceedings being extended to them.

Advocate Jayant Mehta, who was also present there, termed some lawyers’ behaviour of not attending the proceedings from a proper place as disrespectful and said he would try to pass on the court’s message to other members of the fraternity.

Several odd incidents have also made ways in the Supreme Court’s virtual proceedings where some lawyers had appeared without shirts or in T-shirts.

Courts have been conducting virtual hearings since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS