PIL Seeking Protection of Attorney-Client Privilege During Virtual Meeting
July 21, 2020
The Delhi High Court, directed the Bar Council of India to consider as a representation a petition, which sought the constitution as an Expert Committee to make rules in order to protect attorney-client privilege.
The PIL was put forth by Advocate Akhil Hasija, fearing the risk of video conferencing platforms being exposed to hacking, recording private conversations with clients, ultimately breaching the privacy of the parties. A division bench, consisting of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan ordered the Bar and other authorities to decide representation following the law.
Advocate Yash Mishra, appearing in behalf of Hasija informed the Court that due to the global pandemic, all meetings and interactions with the clients have shifted to virtual platforms via several video conferencing applications. However, it remains unclear as to which platform is recommended to safeguard data privacy. Mishra also drew the Court’s attention to Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1982, which mandates an advocate not to disclose privileged communications with clients.
The Delhi HC remarked that the PIL had been preferred without prior representation of authorities and disposed the same with a direction to the Bar and other concerned authorities to treat it as a representation.