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The system of virtual hearings introduced amid the COVID-19 crisis has brought a sea change to the legal profession, with opposing views regarding their efficacy being expressed by lawyers across the country.
A video hearing at the Karnataka High Court witnessed something different today, when a lawyer insisted on making submissions while standing at a makeshift dais.
Before the hearing began, Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka asked Advocate Chidanandayya L M to make his arguments while sitting. To this, Chidanandayya responded by saying that he was accustomed to arguing while standing.
Here is how the exchange took place:
CJ Oka: "You please sit and argue... You seem to have set up a dais in your office."
Chidanandayya: "Sir, I have a habit of standing and arguing."
CJ Oka: "You will set an example for other members of the Bar."
Chidanandayya went on to make his submissions while standing throughout.
Observing this, CJ Oka remarked,
CJ Abhay S Oka
At this juncture, Chidanandayya stated that any lawyer would be welcome to use this facility in his office.
Before ending the session, CJ Oka observed that advocates can properly argue only when they are standing and not while sitting.
Speaking to Bar and Bench, Chidanandayya said,
"We, always, stand and argue in Courts. I am not comfortable in sitting and arguing. Even when there is an arbitration matter, I would like to stand and argue..... Most of the lawyers use mobiles for video conference hearing. If the signal drops, the audio/video also gets affected. At my place, there are signal connectivity issues. Therefore, I had to go for some system which would be connected through internet. That is the reason why I use a Dais."
It remains to be seen if other members of the Bar take inspiration from this stand out example.