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SC reprimands lawyer for not speaking when his case was called in a virtual hearing

The lawyer 'purposely did not open his mouth' because he was waiting for a senior Advocate: Justice RF Nariman

The Supreme Court on Tuesday strongly expressed its displeasure when a lawyer did not speak up timely in a virtual hearing. The said hearing concerns a special leave petition in the matter of M/S Dilip Buildcon v. M/S Topworth Infra Pvt Ltd. 

The Three-Judge Bench comprising of Justices Rohinton, Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha cautioned advocates from taking advantage of a non-physical hearing setup.

“We strongly deprecate tactics of this kind. We do not want advocates to take advantage of a non-physical hearing system when it is working on both sides”, it said.

The top Court insisted that the lawyer could have informed the Bench that he is waiting for the senior advocate instead of resorting to such tactics. It categorically made the following observations in this regard.

“Despite the fact that the mike was on and despite the fact that he was told by the court at least three times that he should open his mouth, he purposely did not do so, because he was waiting for a Senior Advocate. He should have come upfront with the court and informed the court that he was waiting for the Senior Advocate instead of indulging in tactics of this kind.”

However, the hearing did take place eventually. The apex Court dismissed the case as it did not want to interfere with the High Court’s order.

SC is presently hearing cases in a virtual setup due to its restricted functioning amidst the COVID 19 pandemic.

Reports suggest that the lawyer did not know that his case was being called out and missed out responding in time due to confusion.


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