Screenshotting virtual court proceedings is akin to clicking a photograph of an actual court proceeding:Calcutta HC

Justice Rajashekhar Mantha initiated suo motu contempt action against an advocate-on-record for posting on ‘LinkedIn’ a screenshot of the virtual court hearing of the day when a favourable interim order was passed by the Single Judge while calling for affidavits. The screenshot was preceded by the following writing: “We are #happy to#share that we managed to obtain an#Ante‐ #Arbitration#Injunction (ICC Arbitration)in a matter before the Calcutta High Court”.

The bench also took offence at the use of the term “managed” in connection with the decision of the court to grant a stay on the arbitration proceedings.

The Single Bench indicated to the parties the impropriety evident from the screenshot/publication:
(i)a screenshot of Court Proceeding has been taken which is equivalent to a photograph of a Court Proceeding, without the leave of this Court.
(ii)The screenshot was published in a personal web page of a website called ‘Linked In’ about two months ago without the leave or knowledge of this Court.
(iii)an insinuation may be evident from the aforesaid writing on the page in question seen with the screenshot.

On Tuesday, the Single Judge took note of an affidavit of August 19 filed by the AOR as ordered by the court. “He has tendered an unconditional apology and has accepted that the publication of the screenshot of Court proceedings without the leave of the Court was incorrect. He has also said that it was deleted immediately after it was notified to him by his Counsel. He has also explained that the statement made in the publication was wholly unintentional. He did not want to lower the dignity or the majesty of the Court. He has also apologised for the same”, recorded Justice Mantha.

Considering the same, the bench directed that the contempt proceedings be “dropped with a warning, however, to not to repeat such conduct in future”.

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