Lawyer appears shirtless in virtual hearing, SC says 'very inappropriate'

Published: 27 October, 2020 10:14 IST | IANS | New Delhi

Few weeks ago, a woman lawyer was added to video conferencing proceedings while she was wearing a face pack

Photo used for representational purpose
Photo used for representational purpose

In a shocker for Supreme Court judges, a lawyer on Monday appeared on screen shirtless for few seconds during the hearing, via video conferencing, of a plea in connection with Sudarshan TV News programme "UPSC Jehad".

Since the beginning of the lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, the top court has been taking up matters virtually and many amusing incidents have occurred where lawyers have been spotted either lounging on bed during hearing or inappropriately dressed for a formal court hearing.

The lawyer came onscreen without wearing his shirt for a few seconds, but it was enough to for the top court to term it inappropriate.

Justice Indu Malhotra said the incident was very inappropriate, while Justice Chandrachud said: "I do not like to be hard to anyone but you are on screen. You have to be careful."

He also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and other senior lawyers involved in the case to speak to the lawyer concerned, to ensure the incident is not repeated.

Few weeks ago, a woman lawyer was added to video conferencing proceedings while she was wearing a face pack and, in another incident, Justice S.K. Kaul had to caution a lawyer, who appeared in "improper clothes" and "lounging on the bed" while he went on-screen for the hearing. In these matters, the bench concerned had to give a pass over.

After the incident during the hearing in the Sudarshan TV matter on Monday, Mehta informed the Supreme Court that the I&B Ministry is ready with the order where it had issued a show-cause notice to Sudarshan TV based on the recommendation of an inter-ministerial group which has viewed all the episode of the channel's 'Bindas Bol' programme.

Mehta said the order will be placed on record on Tuesday and then the parties aggrieved can challenge it. The top court adjourned the matter for November 19.

On October 5, the Centre had informed the top court that the Inter-Ministerial Committee has given a recommendation and certain additional recommendations in connection with Sudarshan TV News programme "UPSC Jehad". The Centre said it is duty-bound to give one more opportunity to the news channel to make a representation in accordance with these recommendations.

A letter seeking adjournment was circulated by the Centre and a bench comprising Justices Chandrachud, Malhotra and Indira Banerjee allowed it.

"The respondent Union of India respectfully submits that the said process is on-going and is at an advanced stage. It is stated that it is only after giving Sudarshan TV News channel a final opportunity of hearing, the Central Government would be in a position to pass an order under sub-section (3) of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995," the letter had said.

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