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Virtual Doors Closed: SC Orders Advocates-on-record to Not Share Video Links of Online Court Hearings

The Supreme Court of India. (Image: PTI)

The Supreme Court of India. (Image: PTI)

The circular issued by apex registry said that only two appearance links and one viewing link shall be provided to each litigating party.

The Supreme Court has warned advocates-on-record (AORs) and in-person petitioners of adverse consequences for unauthorised sharing of video conference links of virtual court hearings. AORis an advocate who is entitled to act as well as plead for a party in the apex court. No advocate other than an AOR shall be entitled to file an appearance or act for a party in the Supreme Court.

The circular issued by apex registry said that only two appearance links and one viewing link shall be provided to each litigating party. "Besides this, the sharing of screen is also prohibited unless permitted by the court. However, it has been observed that the advocates-on-records are sharing the links, provided to them for video conferencing, with more than two advocates to appear before the court during the course of proceeding," the circular said.

It said it was also observed that advocates were addressing the court in the matters not listed for hearing on that day. It further said that such sharing of video conferencing links or sharing of screen was violative of the standard operating procedure and was unauthorised and created hindrance in the proceedings of the court.

"Therefore, as directed, it is hereby reiterated to all the advocates-on-record, parties-in-person, and all other concerned, that in future there should not be unauthorised sharing of link/ screen without permission of the court, for the hearing of a matter through video conferencing mode…," it said. The advocates and parties-in-person appearing in violation of the SOP shall not be allowed to address the apex court, rather their audio and video access will be prohibited.

"Any breach or violation of above directions in future may invite adverse consequences against the advocate-on-record/party-in-person, or any other concerned person responsible for the abovesaid violation," it said.


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