NEW DELHI: Courts will finally shed off the practices they inherited from the British colonial system. The Bar Council of India (BCI) has amended the advocates practice rules and has made it mandatory for them to refer to judges as ‘Sir’, and not ‘My Lord’.
The salutations involving the lordship will be done away with after a number of directives from the Supreme Court, which says that judges too are not comfortable with these salutations. The court had said: “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 expressions which are accepted.”
Justice Muralidhar and Justice Ravindra Bhatt have specifically told lawyers not to address them as ‘My Lord’ or ‘Your Lordships’. The registry has also been directed to show the direction as part of the Cause List.
Similar reservations were raised by several other High Court judges. The BCI has framed a rule under Section 49 (1) (i) to this effect, and the resolution has been sent to the State Bar Councils and various Bar associations to be circulated to the courts. The rule has been framed consistently with the obligation of the Bar to show a respectful attitude to the court and bearing in mind the dignity of judicial office. The rule will come into force from the date of publication in the official gazette.
The BCI has made it mandatory for lawyers to abide by the circular while addressing the courts from now onwards. Though BCI had passed a resolution in April 2006 that no advocate would address a judge as “My Lord” or “Lordship” and a gazette notification was issued on May 6, 2006, a decision was not adopted and advocates were seen addressing the judges in the old fashion.