The Court ordered that lawyers are required to wear ‘plain white shirt/ white salwar- kameez/ white saree with plain white neck band’ while appearing through virtual mode. It was said that the High court should advise its members to refrain from adopting any casual approach while appearing before this court through virtual mode as it may cause hurdles in the administration of justice
By: Surbhi Kumari, Amity University Patna
While reiterating the dress code to be strictly followed by lawyers while appearing before the virtual court, the Allahabad High Court in Smt. Jyoti v. State of Uttar Pradesh observed that Advocates appearing for court hearings through video conference while driving scooters, lounging on the bed, wearing colorful clothes, or putting on a face pack cannot be accepted.
The Single-judge bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery directed that lawyers are required to wear ‘plain white shirt/ white salwar- kameez/ white saree with plain white neck band’ while appearing through virtual mode.
It was observed by Justice Shamshery that advocates must understand that their appearance for hearing of cases through the virtual mode from their house or office or chamber is like an extended courtroom and it is equally as serious as attending physical court proceedings inside the courtroom.
The court observed that “Even the Supreme Court had witnessed various incidents, where many advocates adopted very casual approach while appearing through virtual mode and appeared wearing vest, tee shirt or coloured shirt, in puja attire, while driving scooter, while taking a leisurely walk, sitting inside a stationed 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.”
The Court laid emphasis on the fact that the appearance of advocates in causal attire is very inappropriate and unacceptable in any circumstance. In this regard, the court said that 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 observations were made after the video link sent to the counsel for a bail applicant remained non-responsive. The Court observed in its order that relaxation has been extended by different courts with regard to advocate’s dress code by exempting coat and gown while appearing through video conference.
It was further noted that the decision by the Bar Council of India relaxed the dress code for advocates across the country as it stated that all advocates can/may wear “plain white shirt/ white salwar-kameez/ white saree with plain white neckband” during hearings/proceedings before all the courts across the country, and no “coats or gowns are needed.” However, many advocates have adopted a casual approach while appearing through video conferences which cannot be allowed, the Court said.
“Even today while hearing the present 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 his conduct was objected,” the Court noted.
The Court, therefore, directed that lawyers are required to wear ‘plain white shirt/ white salwar- kameez/ white saree with plain white neck band’ while appearing through virtual mode.
It was further said that lawyers should address the Court from a premise which has a decent and presentable background with peaceful surrounding and to remain attentive towards the court. The Court finally added that it would be appreciated if they wear black coats also.
The matter will be heard again on July 28.