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Courtroom decorum gone up in smoke? Supreme Court chews out counsel for consuming Gutka as lawyers take to vices on video

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan was seen not so subtly smoking his hookah during a hearing before the Rajasthan HC.

Debayan Roy

If advocates quickly finishing their breakfast or lunch during virtual proceedings was not enough, a recent spate of incidents saw lawyers taking to vices while appearing before the Supreme Court on video.

On August 11, when the Rajasthan High Court was hearing the challenge to the order of the Rajasthan Speaker allowing the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan was seen not so subtly smoking his hookah.

The senior lawyer continued taking puffs from the hookah even as Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal carried on with his submissions.

Today, the Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra noticed that one of the lawyers was chewing tobacco (Gutka) during the virtual hearing.

When the Bench pulled up him up, the counsel could only muster a meek, "Sorry".

Justice Mishra warned,

"What is this? We have seen you. Don't say sorry. See that you don't repeat this in the future. Leave it at that."

Justice Arun Mishra

The virtual hearings before courts, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen a number of episodes where lawyers have been caught doing things they wouldn't otherwise do during physical hearings.

The Rajasthan High Court, not once, but twice, had pulled up lawyers for appearing before the Bench dressed a little too casually.

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