In an incident that appears to be against the decorum of court, a senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan was found smoking a hookah during a virtual hearing of the Rajasthan High Court. The senior advocate appeared before the high court bench during the hearing of the plea against the merger of six BSP MLAs into the ruling Congress.
Video gone viral
The video clip, which has gone viral on social media, shows senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan holding a set of papers in front of his face as lawyer Kapil Sibal argues.
Though documents hide the senior advocate’s face, rings of smoke are seen in the viral video clip.
The advocate then keeps aside the set of papers. But as he moves his shield of documents, Rajeev Dhavan is seen smoking a hookah during the hearing.
Court hearing going on and here's Mr Rajeev dhawan using hookah!!
Respect for Court procedure 💯 💯
Wow 👏 👏 👌pic.twitter.com/TLo7jCwYgp
— Dhananjay Shenoi | धनंजय शेनॉय 🇮🇳 🚩 (@im_shenoi) August 12, 2020
Not clear whether court noticed it
It is not clear if the incident was noticed by the Rajasthan High Court or not.
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As the hearing resumed on Friday, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan’s video suddenly disappeared. To this, the Rajasthan HC asked if the video was turned off by him.
SC’s observations on online hearing
After coronavirus-induced lockdown forced the courts to go online, the Supreme Court observed that “minimum court etiquette” should be followed. The court said etiquette should be followed given the public nature of hearings.
In June, a lawyer appeared in a virtual hearing in the Supreme Court while lying on bed and donning a T-shirt. Following this, the SC observed that lawyers appearing in matters via video- conferencing should be “presentable”. It also said that they should avoid showing images that are not appropriate.
“This court is of the view that when counsels appear in court video hearings, they should be presentable and avoid showing images, which are not appropriate and can only be tolerable in the privacy of their homes,” the SC had noted in its June 15 order.
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