The Delhi High Court expressed its displeasure and said it is “simply shocking” that lawyers are contending or attending the virtual court proceedings while they are on “roads, sitting in parks and even running up on stairs”, making it challenging for the court to lead the procedures as the counsel is not audible in the majority of cases.
The High Court, expressing its disappointment, said that as per the video conferencing rules, the advocates and the concerned parties are required to join the procedures from a quiet spot from where they are appropriately audible, regardless of whether they are visible or not.
Justice Prathiba M Singh was dissatisfied with the standard disturbances and regular glitches caused in the virtual hearing due to weak internet stability and legal counsellors’ presenting their arguments their issue from such places from where they were not duly audible.
“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,” stated the judge.
Justice Singh added that she will start seeking for directions that advocates who are not in a surrounding from where they are suitably audible, will not be permitted to attend the virtual court 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 stated.
According to the Delhi High Court Video Conferencing Rules, the parties and their respective advocates should be in a quiet surrounding which is adequately secured and must have sufficient data or internet network.
Any inappropriate situation caused during video conferencing may if the presiding justice so notices, render the procedures non-est, the guidelines expressed, adding that all persons’ mobile phones, attending the proceeding, will remain turned off or in quiet mode during the entirety of the session.
The judge likewise said that the advocates should check that their internet coverage is stable while attending the virtual procedures and said regardless of whether they are not properly visible, they must at least be perceptible.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was also present for another case in Justice Singh’s court, said the fraternity ought to acknowledge the facility of virtual procedures being presented to them.
Advocate Jayant Mehta, who was also present there, pointed out a few advocates’ conducts of not adhering to the procedural guidelines and attending the court sessions from such spots as insolent and disrespectful.
He further said that he would attempt to pass the court’s message to all the individuals from the fraternity.
A few odd occurrences have likewise taken place in the Supreme Court’s virtual procedures where a few advocates had shown up without shirts or in T-shirts.
The courts have been holding virtual hearings since March, last year, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping in mind the social-distancing directives.