Advocate Files PIL Against Bombay HC’s Ban On Mobile Phones Inside Courtrooms

Advocate Files PIL Against Bombay HC’s Ban On Mobile Phones Inside Courtrooms

Advocate Vinay Gangwal has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court against the decision of the Court to prohibit use of mobile phones and any other recording devices inside courtrooms.

Although the Chief Justice was not sitting today, Gangwal confirmed to Livelaw that the matter will be mentioned before her bench tomorrow.

The February 13 notice that exempts lawyers, states- “The defaulters will be liable for confiscation of such device and/ or fine as may be determined by the Court and in addition, will also be liable for an action under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 as well as such other penal action.”

Gangwal’s PIL primarily contends that this prohibition on mobile phones inside courtrooms will affect the litigants adversely as they will not be able to communicate with their lawyers urgently and vice-versa. The PIL states that such a rule is arbitrary and discriminatory as judges and lawyers are exempt from it, also that the said rule violates the fundamental rights of litigants, petitioners appearing in person or even the media as they are not allowed to carry their mobile phones inside courtrooms.

The February 13 notice came about after a person was caught by a lawyer taking a video of the court proceedings in Chief Justice Manjula Chellur’s court, court room 52.

Speaking to Livelaw, Registrar General Mangesh Patil had said that since there is an SMS service for lawyers where messages regarding the hearing dates etc are sent, they have been exempt from this rule. He also said- “They have been excluded, also being officers of the court they are supposed to be responsible enough.”

When asked why the media has not been exempted from this rule, he said that the Supreme Court has the same practice.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.