NEW DELHI: The British colonial era system of addressing Judges as lordship will become a thing of the past at the Rajasthan High Court.
The Judges there have unanimously decided not to call themselves by those titles.anymore. The Judges in a full court meeting passed the resolution and stated, "To honour the mandate of equality enshrined in the constitution of India, the full court in its meeting has unanimously resolved to request the counsels and those who appear before the court to desist from addressing the Hon'ble Judges as 'My Lord' and 'Your Lordship'."
The resolution was the brainchild of Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court Ravindra Bhatt, who while officiating at the Delhi High Court too had specifically told the lawyers not to address him as 'My Lord' or 'Your Lordship'.
Justice M Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court still follows the same practice and has urged the lawyers to address his bench as 'Sir'.
The registry has also been directed to show the direction as part of the Cause List every day.
In 2009, Madras High Court judge Justice K Chandru banned lawyers from addressing the court as 'Your Lordship'.
In 2016, even Bar Council of India (BCI) has amended the advocates practice rules and made it mandatory for advocates to only address the Judges as Sir.
The move by the BCI was followed by a number of directives from the Supreme Court wherein they have directed that they too are not comfortable with these salutations addressed to them. 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 consistent with the obligation of the Bar to show a respectful attitude towards the court and bearing in mind the dignity of judicial office.
In 2014, the then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu had said it was not mandatory to address judges as "Your Lordship". The observation from the bench came while hearing a PIL filed by advocate Shiv Sagar Tiwari, who claimed the use of such terms was not just a relic of the colonial era but also a sign of slavery.
How Judges in some other countries are addressed:
UK: My Lord, My Honour
US: Justice or Judge (followed by name), Madam Justice or Judge (followed by name)
South Africa: Mr Justice