‘Simply Shocking’ Says Delhi HC on Advocates Attending Video Conferencing From Parks and Roads

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday called it “simply shocking” that advocates were arguing matters through video conferencing while performing activities such as climbing the stairs or being on roads or sitting in parks. This makes it difficult for the Court to conduct proceedings as they are not even audible.

The High Court expressed its displeasure and held that according to the virtual hearing rules, the advocates are supposed to join the proceeding from a quiet place, in a place where they are at least audible if not visible.

Justice Prathiba M Singh was aggrieved by the regular disturbances caused either because of poor internet connection or advocates arguing from places where they are not even audible enough.

The Judge said that she was able to hear only one matter for the past 45 mins as half the time went in answering the lawyers who kept asking ‘Am I audible’” around 20 times.

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Justice Singh says she will further issue a notice that advocates who are not in a place where they are clearly audible will not be allowed to attend the virtual proceedings.

Justice further said that

It was shocking to note that advocates would argue in locations such as parks and roads.

According to the Delhi High Court Video Conferencing Rules they are supposed to be situated in a quiet location properly equipped with an internet connection.

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If the judge so directs the proceedings can be declared non-est if any unwarranted disturbance is caused during video conferencing. Also, it added that the cell phones should remain either switched off or in aeroplane mode during the proceedings.

The lawyers were also asked to check their internet connection before joining the virtual proceedings and said that they must be audible even if they are not visible enough.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain who had logged in for some other case said that the advocates must accept it with a grace that the facility of virtual proceedings has been extended to them. Several odd incidents have also occurred in the Supreme Court’s virtual proceedings where there were a few lawyers who attended the proceedings without shirts or T-shirts.

Courts had shifted to virtual hearing since March last year due to the pandemic situation.


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