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HC judge bars My Lord' from his court

Started by ashutosh majumdar, October 17, 2009, 10:16:25 AM

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ashutosh majumdar

At last some sense has prevailed!!

It is more than three years since the move to do away with a colonial practice in the judiciary was thought of, but the first step towards  its actual implementation has come from a Madras High Court judge.

Justice K Chandru has banned the use of the terms My lord' and Your lordship' by lawyers addressing his court.

Advocates whose cases were listed for hearing before Justice Chandru were in for a surprise on Thursday when they saw a notice board requesting them not to address the court using the traditional phrase My Lord'. Quoting a Bar Council of India resolution adopted in April 2006, the judge requested lawyers to adhere to Rule 49(1)(j) of the Advocates Act as framed by the Bar Council.

As per the rule, lawyers could address the court as Your Honour' and refer to it as Honorable Court'. If it is a subordinate court, lawyers could use terms such as Sir' or any equivalent phrase in the regional language concerned.

In April 2006, explaining the rationale behind the move, the Bar Council said words such as My Lord' and Your Lordship' were "relics of the colonial past." The resolution has since been circulated to all state councils and the Supreme Court for being adopted and followed. For over three years now, the resolution has largely remained on paper.

The My Lord' isssue is not new to this High Court. The late KV Sankaran, who was the president of the advocates' association several years ago, never addressed the court as My Lord'. Later, when some activists broached the topic, senior advocate and doyen of the Madras Bar, Govind Swaminathan is said to have quipped: "It is a good move. But I cannot stop calling my wife darling'. Let young members follow the practice."

While heading to court hall or meetings, a judge of the Madras High Court enjoys two unique things -- a dafedar bearing a silver mace and a loud hissing sound he he lets out in the corridors to forewarn people that the judge is coming. "This is a luxury not available to any judge of the Supreme Court or judges of the 20 other high courts in the country," said a senior jurist.

Every judge of this high court is given a mace-bearer, driver and a personal security officer. Together, there are about 180 people doing these jobs. Except when the judge travels home or to court, or when the judge heads to court halls or meetings, all these staffers while away their time doing virtually nothing. "If only they are redesignated as driver-cum-helper, or mace-bearer-cum-helper, they could be engaged in more productive office work when they are not attending on the judges," said a jurist.

Pointing to a severe staff crunch at class IV level, another registry official said if such an arrangement was made it would greatly reduce the burden on aged and women section officials who have to climb ladders or handle heavy bundles. "At present, they have nothing else to do, except, of course, hanging around court halls or meeting halls most of the time. The initiative, however, has to come from the top," he added.  

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/HC-judge-bars-My-Lord-from-his-court/articleshow/5132818.cms

'My Lord' junked for 'Your Honour'

Their Lordships will henceforth just be their Honours. 'My Lord' and 'Your Lordship', the two phrases used since the British Raj by  lawyers to address judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, have just been confined to history by the Bar Council of India.

In a recent resolution amending the rules, BCI replaced the two most important phrases with 'Your Honour' and 'Honourable Court' saying that words 'My Lord' and 'Your Lordship' are "relics of the colonial past" which need to be weeded out.

In the lower courts, lawyers can address the presiding officers as 'Sir' or the equivalent word in the respective regional languages.

"I welcome it," said Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal, who, while heading a bench had recently dismissed a petition filed by a lawyers' body seeking identical change in the address system.

The CJI had asked the lawyers to approach BCI and build a consensus among advocates for the new system of address, assuring them the court had no problem with it as long as it is dignified.

Will the lawyers, so used to uttering 'Milord' and 'Your Lordship' during their arguments, adopt the new system?

Solicitor General G E Vahanvati said the prevailing system was just fine, reflecting the dignity due to the court and judges.

Supreme Court Bar Association president P H Parekh said amendment of the rules by BCI does not make it mandatory for lawyers to follow the new system of address.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/My-Lord-junked-for-Your-Honour/articleshow/1497046.cms