New Delhi, May 25: The Delhi High Court Monday exempted advocates appearing before it and at all District Courts in the national capital from wearing black gowns, coats and sherwanis during hearings via video conferencing or otherwise.

“In order to further contain the spread of Covid-19, it is hereby notified that till further orders, while appearing before this High Court or its Subordinate Courts, through video conferencing or otherwise, the advocates are exempted from wearing gowns, coats, sherwanis, achkans, chapkans and jackets,” the circular said, as reported by The Indian Express.

“However, they shall be dressed in a sober and dignified manner and expected to adhere to the rest of the Dress Code, as prescribed in Part VI, Chapter IV of the Bar Council of India Rules (Rules framed under Section 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961). The above directions shall come into force with immediate effect,” the circular, signed by the High Court’s Registrar General Manoj Jain, said.

Last week, the Supreme Court lawyers were exempted from wearing gowns and coats while attending virtual hearings in view of experts claiming that there was a greater possibility of the virus being spread through robes.

The Delhi High Court and the trial courts have been hearing only urgent matters through video conferencing due to Covid-19.

So far, no dress code was prescribed for lawyers or judges attending virtual hearings. The Jaipur bench of Rajasthan High Court on April 24 had adjourned a hearing through video conferencing after a counsel for the petitioner allegedly appeared in a “baniyan (vest)” before the court.

Hearing an anticipatory bail plea of an accused, the judge had said “learned counsel for the petitioner was contacted through video conferencing and he was found to be wearing a ‘baniyan’. This court has already observed that during this pandemic where court functioning is being done through video conferencing, lawyers must appear in “proper uniform”.

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