” The pandemic has brought about so many changes in our daily lives. Amidst the morbid tales and statistics of sickness and deaths, it has also given birth to peculiar situations. And no institution has had to face stranger things than the judicial system in India. “
The Allahabad High Court recently pulled up a lawyer who was addressing the court from a car. The attorney was in the midst of appealing on behalf of a bail applicant when the Court put an end to the antic. Expressing shock at the wanton lack of regard for a serious practice, the Court remarked that “The lawyers must bear in their mind that they are participating in a solemn proceeding before the courts and not sitting in their drawing rooms or passing leisurely time.”
Confronted by equally ridiculous behavior on part of legal practitioners prior to the aforementioned case, the office bearers of the Bar Associations of the High Court were directed to advise their members to drop any semblance of complacency when it came to appearances. The order came after an advocate appeared on a virtual court session in a coloured shirt, which is strictly against Court norms. Such a situation calls for a policy code dictating advocate dress codes in India. But wait, there’s more!
Several incidents have occurred in the recent past that has left the Judicial system baffled at the apparent disregard for Court rules by individuals who are supposed to fight for justice and uphold the law. There are instances where advocates have appeared for virtual sessions wearing vests, T-shirts and coloured apparel. Some have even turned up in puja attire! The absurdity of the whole situation is stretched even further by legal counsels addressing the Court while driving scooters, inside vehicles, market places and while taking a walk. But the cake goes to the lady advocate who presented her case with a face pack on!
As kids, we grew up watching movies where the courtroom is represented as a sacred ground, where justice eventually prevailed. The Court was shown as a place for serious business where matters of life and death were decided. There was no need to point out the Do’s and Don’ts for the lawyers. It was clearly understood! The amateur conduct of our legal representatives has diminished the sanctity of the courthouse and turned it into a Kapil Sharma show where anything goes.
Rules are in place for a reason. Without rules to govern us, society would collapse into chaos. Imagine the Indian cricket team turning up for a match in their training kit, complete with shorts and vest, with utter disregard for the rules of the game. Or visualize a situation where everyone turns up for a board meeting in pajamas and slip-ons.
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the Allahabad High Court directed the Registrar General, High Court, to come up with a policy of “Do’s and Don’ts” for the lawyers. The bench while recognizing the unusual circumstances caused by the pandemic, took a dim view of the tomfoolery of legal practitioners. Abhorring “such type of non-serious approach by the lawyers”, the High Court stated that the liberty granted by the High Court Administration must not be misused by the learned counsels.