During a routine hearing in Supreme Court, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde schooled a lawyer regarding the ways of addressing the judges in Indian courts when a lawyer addressed him as “your honour”.
“Are you appearing before the US Supreme Court? The use of ‘your honour’ is in US and not in Indian Supreme Court,” said CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde to the lawyer after addressed as “your honour”.
To which lawyer replied that there is no specific way of addressing the judges in the Indian court.
“It may not be in the law but it is about practice of the court. We don’t use ‘your honour’. Please use the terms that are used in practice in India,” said CJI Bobde.
Various petitions have already been filed to review and decide the colonial practice. The matter that how to address the judges in Indian courts have always been a matter of debate from the past many years.
In 2014, SA Bobde along with Justice HL Dattu had ruled that there is no compulsion to address the judges with “your honour”, “your lordship”, or “my lord”. “When did we say it is compulsory. You can only call us in a dignified manner,” said the then SC bench comprising of SA Bobde and HL Dattu.
The petition was moved by advocate Shiv Sagar Tiwari had sought the ban on using the phrases “my lord or your lordship” and a uniform address to the judges of Indian courts throughout the country.
“To address the court what do we want, only a respectable way of addressing. You call (judges) sir, it is accepted. You call it your honour, it is accepted. You call lordship it is accepted. These are some of the appropriate way of expression, which are accepted,” said SC bench.
Recently a Delhi High Court judge who is being admired all over the country for his professional approach, Justice Muralidhar in March, had requested all the lawyers not to address him as “your lordship” or “my lord”.
“It is for the information of respected members of the Bar that Hon’ble Justice S Muralidhar has requested that they may try and avoid addressing him as ‘your lordship’ or ‘my lord’,” said the issued note.
Last month, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan has asked all the judicial officers to call him sir instead of “your lordship” or “my lord”.