Video calls have opened up our lives to everyone else and we often fail to observe the decorum that we have in office at home. While there have been salacious Zoom calls which have ended up ruining careers, closer home we’ve seen our advocates in a different setting.
So, when the SC imposed a Re 1 fine on Prashant Bhushan as the quantum of punishment for his contempt of court charge, the latter put up a picture posing with his advocate Rajeev Dhavan with a coin.
However, what Legal Twitter was quick to notice was that the picture also had Rajeev Dhawan’s infamous hookah.
For the uninitiated, a video of Dhawan had gone viral on April 14 in which the senior advocate was seen smoking hookah behind a sheaf of papers during a hearing for the Rajasthan High Court. The Rajasthan HC was hearing the petitions filed by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar and BSP challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress.
The clip that went viral showed Dhavan puffing on his hookah while Kapil Sibal argued his case. This led Justice Goyal to advise Dhavan to quit smoking to which Dhavan responded he’d try.
This isn’t the first fun exchange among judges and lawyers. In an earlier hearing, CJI Bobde took umbrage with Mukul Rohatgi. CJI Bobde had asked Rohatgi, upon seeing his background littered with statues: “Are you sitting in a museum? There are statues behind you.”
Rohatgi had replied: “I'm sitting in my farmhouse. I shifted to the farm so that I can swim twice a day, your Lordships”.
When there was a technical snag, the CJI had observed: “Why don’t you sit somewhere else other than a museum ? Try and spend something on your sound system rather than all the artefacts around you.”
In an earlier hearing in April, the Rajasthan High Court had taken offence to lawyers turning up in vest and demanded that everyone maintain some sartorial sanctity, pointing out the Advocates Act stipulates lawyers to appear before court in a prescribed dress code.
Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma had said: “The counsel for the petitioner was contacted through video-conferencing. He was found to be wearing a banian (vest). The court’s decorum required to be maintained even through video-conferencing.”