Advocate removed from Gauhati High Court by police for wearing jeans to hearing

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The Gauhati High Court on Friday got police personnel to remove an advocate from the court premises after he turned up wearing jeans while appearing before the bench.

Justice Kalyan Rai Surana also recorded the unexpected turn of events in his order, which has been directed to be placed before the Chief Justice as well as the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

“Matter stands adjourned today as Mr. B.K. Mahajan, learned counsel for the petitioner is attired in jeans pant. Therefore, the Court had to call for the police personnel to decourt him outside the High Court campus,” the Court’s order reads.

The lawyer, one Bijan Kumar Mahajan, was appearing for a petitioner in an anticipatory bail case.

The Advocates Act, 1961 requires all practicing lawyers to wear a black coat or robe over a white shirt with a neckband while attending or making submissions in court proceedings. The Bar Council of India (BCI) Rules on Professional Standards reiterates the same and adds that advocates should always be presentable in court.

In recent times, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing rise of virtual court proceedings, there have been several departures in the conventional dress codes prescribed for lawyers, which has drawn strong criticism and counter-measures.

The Supreme Court had last year refused to entertain a plea seeking relaxation of dress code for lawyers during the summer season.

Meanwhile, the question of what litigants attending court proceedings should wear was also up for debate recently, in view of incidents where the courts have chastised parties for appearing in inappropriate attire.

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