The Bar Council of India (hereinafter referred to as “BCI”) asked lawyers across the country not to wear coats and long gowns during the hearings through video conferencing before any court or tribunal as a “precautionary measure to check the spread of coronavirus infection”.
The apex bar body’s direction came a day after the Hon’ble SC issued an announcement asking lawyers to appear before it via video conferencing not to wear coats and long gowns.
Furthermore soon after the was notification was passed by the Hon’ble court BCI announced “All advocates of the country, that considering the medical advice and also the circular dated May 13, 2020, issued by the Supreme Court, all lawyers may wear ‘plain white shirt/white salwar-kameez/white saree with plain white neckband’ during hearing/ proceedings before all high courts and all other courts, tribunals, commissions, and all other forums and no coat or gown/robes are/is required to be worn during such period during which the threat of the spread of coronavirus looms large and/ or till such time the council further issues another administrative order modifying/ overriding this order.”
Thereafter the BCI’s secretary also mentioned in the notification that “This administrative order is being issued as a precautionary measure to check the spread of coronavirus infection under the present situation. This order will come into force with immediate effect and will be operative until further orders of the council.”
Needful to mention that the Hon’ble apex court has been conducting hearing through video conferencing only since March 25, 2021, due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Hon’ble courts had even suspended the entry of advocates and other staff into the high-security zone based on their proximity cards, till further orders.
In the light of the notification passed by the Hon’ble court, it can be detected that during the proceedings on Wednesday, the CJI and Justices Indu Malhotra and Hrishikesh Roy were not wearing their coats and gowns when they assembled in the courtroom here for the hearing through video conferencing.
Moreover, the implementation of the directions passed in the notification by the Hon’ble court was instant as the lawyers were seen appearing without coat and gown in cases heard after that through video conferencing.
Earlier, the Hon’ble apex court also stated that as part of a pilot project, the judges may come to the courtrooms in the Hon’ble apex court premises from next week to hold proceedings through video conferencing.