Rajasthan HC virtual hearing goes up in smoke as senior advocate puffs Hookah during proceeding

During a virtual hearing of the Rajasthan High Court, Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan was caught smoking a hookah during the proceeding. The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court resumed hearing on the plea challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress. 

The incident occurred during the proceedings in the court of Justice Mahendra Kumar Goyal when senior advocate Dhavan held a sheaf of papers in front of his face as lawyer Kapil Sibal was arguing. 

Rajasthan HC virtual hearing
Rajasthan HC virtual hearing. Screen grab/Twitter

The clip shows advocate Dhavan holding a sheaf of documents as rings of smoke escaped from the sides.  As he moved the documents aside a nozzle of Hookah appears in the video clip which shows the senior advocate puffing during the hearing. 

Dhavan is representing six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs whose merger with the Congress in Rajasthan is being challenged by the BSP and a BJP MLA.

On a lighter note, Justice Mahendra Kumar Goyal advised Dhavan that he should quit smoking at his age as it is injurious to health. Dhavan responded that he would so but also he admitted that senior lawyers are not accustomed too well to virtual hearings but are trying to cope with the situation.

Minimum court etiquette should be followed during virtual hearing

After coronavirus-induced lockdown forced the courts to go online, the SC observed that "minimum court etiquette" should be followed given the public nature of hearings.

This is not the first time such an incident occurred during a virtual hearing. In June, a lawyer appeared in a virtual hearing in the Supreme Court while lying on bed and donning a vest after which the SC observed that lawyers appearing in matters via video- conferencing should be "presentable"

In the  June 15 order,  SC had noted, "This court is of the view that when counsel appears in court video hearings, they should be presentable and avoid showing images, which are not appropriate and can only be tolerable in the privacy of their homes."