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Decorum in Virtual Courts

February 24, 2022by canonsphere0

This article is about the decorum in virtual court, a decorum that everyone is obliged to follow. India’s 78% population works in the unorganized sector, only 22% work in the organized sector. This article is interesting because the author has tried to mention every-case, in which senior lawyers violated the decorum in virtual court proceedings. A very elaborative discussion has been made by the author about the topic of this article and the author has written every related thing to this article.


Maintain the Decorum

We have been listening to this sentence since childhood, in classes, colleges, and in any professional place. It is the decorum that helps us keep goingtowards success. Humans are miserable and comfortless in the wake of the coronavirus. The nationwide lockdown was imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus but CRIME never stopped, so the court proceeding never stopped too. District court proceedings may have stopped but, high court and honorable supreme court proceedings can never get stopped. India being a developing country come up with virtual court proceedings. But the questions, we had faced, are- 

  • Would it be possible the maintain the decorum in the virtual court?
  • Would it be possible to speed up the proceeding, due to vague network connectivity?
  • Would people be seriously attending virtual court proceedings as they attending-physical court proceedings?
  • With no choice left, we continued with virtual court proceedings, but was
  • decorum really maintained while virtual court proceeding?


The courtroom where the law meets, where everything is being addressed to the judges only; lawyers and judges regulate the pattern of lawand order. There are 3 main functions of the courtroom-

  1. Enforcement – Courts enforce and protect the rights of every individual.
  2. Processing – Lawyers and judges make sure that justice has been served and act according to the provisions and laws enshrined in the constitution.
  3. Policymaking – Judiciary has the power of judicial review, and to establish the precedents which help serving justice in upcoming cases.

Decorum in Courts

There are following stated things should be followed for maintaining decorum in court-

  1. Stand when addressing someone or being addressed, when the court is open or adjourned when the jury is entering the courtroom or leaving the court room.
  2. Address informal manner-Address everyone in the courtroom(including witnesses, opposing counsel) by their surnames. Addressing and calling co-counsel and witnessed by their first name and nicknames aren’t
  3. Permission before addressing- Counsel should ask permission from the bench before addressing anything.
  4. Hand everything to the clerk- All the documents must be handed to the clerk. Counsels are not allowed to approach the bench of the judge.
  5. Vague objections- Counsel should object on legal grounds only.
  6. Irrelevant gestures and expressions- Counsel should not make any comments to witness, even making faces, gestures, and other ill-behavior is also prohibited.
  7. Tobacco is prohibited- Tobacco in any form is prohibited.
  8. Eatables not allowed- Chewing gum, bottles, beverages and other edibles are prohibited.
  9. Audio prohibited of any device- Cell phone should be on silent mode or turned off.
  10. Computers should be used with audio off.
  11. Children not allowed – No Children are allowed in the courtroom unless they are a part of the case. If due to any emergency counsels and witnesses bring their children to the court, children should be seated in the hallway; they are not allowed inside the courtroom

Decorum in Virtual Courts

Due to this coronavirus pandemic, we have virtual court proceedings and there is also need for decorum which should be maintained. The following things should be followed for maintaining decorum–

  1. Timely arrive and follow directions according to the virtual platform- All the counsels should join meetings 5-10 minutes before the actual proceeding. It would help in avoiding network issues and always join the meeting with your real name and if you are being asked to disclose your identity, you should with your real name at the time of inquiry.
  2. Sit straight- There are some rules, one shouldn’t just lay down, or put your leg on the table. One needs to show some courtesy. Do not eat while proceedings- Everybody is in their home during this pandemic, that does not mean you can behave in the wrong manner, you should not eat your food or have your lunch in between court proceedings.
  3. Tobacco in any form is prohibited- Use of tobacco is prohibited everywhere when it comes to professional places.
  4. Don’t interfere in any testimony- You are required to turn off your mic in virtual court proceedings unless it is your turn to speak or you are being asked to speak.
  5. Dress up properly as you do in the courtroom- this is the basic rule in every profession. In the courtroom, all the counsels and judges are required to dress up in business attire. Same in virtual courts, no one should wear pajamas, t-shirts, or gym clothes.
  6. Don’t create any distractions- Attending virtual court is work from home for sure, and everybody has their families and pets, but try to avoid distraction and put your devices in silent mode while attending virtual
    court proceedings.

Certain Cases

Recently many pictures and stories have been shared of the participants, attending virtual court in pajamas, or walking around the room wearing underwear, or appearing in a swimsuit.

  1. In June, Counsel appeared in a virtual court while lying on bed and wearing a t-shirt.
  2. In September, A lawyer attended a case when he was driving his car, Justice Biswanath Rath asked him for the reason, lawyer stated, he has another proceeding in puri, and he is rushing to attend it, so he is attending this proceeding while driving a car.

Orissa High court judge ordered that “Minimum decorum should be maintained, In this COVID-19 situation, everybody is stuck in their home and not able to maintain the decorum properly, but this doesn’t mean one can attend with his wife, or from his law or while driving a car.

Court also stated that they had some horrible experience in virtual court-

  1. A counsel has appeared with his wife in a virtual court proceeding.
  2. A counsel has attended the proceeding from his lawn with the reason that his network is not stable inside the house.
  3. A counsel has attended proceeding while having his lunch.
  4. A written petition was filed against the senior designation lawyer Rajeev Dhawan for smoking in virtual court proceedings.

Now the question is, is this what we call decorum? if counsels and professional Lawyers are not maintaining, how can we expect from others?


Being a part of the Indian judicial system, everybody should follow the basic etiquette. Certain cases have been mentioned where the senior counsels violated the decorum of the courtroom. The judicial system of India is a big part of the country and its description is beyond professionalism.

Lawyers are social engineers, and we humans are social animals.
There is an old saying if humans won’t follow discipline, then what is the difference between humans and animals.




Decorum – Decorum means proper behavior that should be followed for showing respect and good manners to others.

Virtual Court – Due to this coronavirus pandemic, court proceedings are being held by the zoom meeting and other social apps through the internet for maintaining law and order.

Etiquette – A code of behavior made by society for behaving informal manner, basic rules and regulations that should be followed for attending an occasion, events, and living in day-to-day life.

Discipline – Discipline means to learn how and what to follow to behave in good manners. Discipline is part of decorum.

Judicial review – Judiciary has the power to review laws made by the legislature and procedures made by the executive to implement the laws. If the judiciary finds the laws and procedures and unconstitutional, it has the power to declare it null and void.

Precedent – Precedents are the laws made by the judges while serving justice and dealing with the cases (civil or criminal).

Social engineer – one who helps to regulate and maintain the law and order, and shape the society in the pattern as enshrined in our constitution.




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