Shirtless men, screaming vendors and mothers make their way into virtual Supreme Court hearings

The Supreme Court has seen and heard almost all in the virtual court system during the pandemic months .


Lawyers have appeared without shirts or in T-shirts, while a racket of blenders, mothers scolding children and guttural cries of vendors, dogs and cats have disturbed the hearings of the top court.


On Tuesday, a “shirtless” man’s appearance saw Justice L. Nageswara Rao lose his usual stoicism to say “this is not done”. A few seconds later the visual disappeared, thanks to the control room’s deft manoeuvre, but the after-taste remained.


A similar occurrence, sometime in October, rankled the court when another “shirtless” appearance made its presence felt in the middle of a virtual court hearing. The judges agreed that such gaffes are “inappropriate”. People need to be respectably attired while engaging with the highest court of the country.


Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde makes it a point to show his displeasure when lawyers appear without their bands on.


On the other hand, lawyers usually complain that they are muted or find themselves disconnected during hearings. Some even say that at times the wrong lawyer’s mic is switched on. One person who was caught “shirtless” said he had switched off the camera.


Full attendance


Slips and human errors apart, the Supreme Court has not missed a day of work since the pandemic began. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently said the Supreme Court had heard and disposed of over 30,000 cases during these months of public health crisis.


Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who heads the court’s e-committee, said the virtual court system was citizen-centric and an attempt from the judiciary to tell citizens that “we value your time”.


CJI Bobde, who is heading a Special Bench monitoring the virtual court system, flagged the need for courts to access fibre-optic networks to ensure better connectivity even in the remotest parts

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:17:14 AM |

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