Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 3
“No My Lord,” says Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi. The Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge has requested the advocates not to address him as “Your Lordship” or “My Lord”.
A note in the list of urgent or fresh cases to be heard by Justice Tyagi makes it clear that he wants the advocates to dispense with the archaic system of addressing judges. The note says: “It is for the information of respected members of the Bar that hon’ble Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi has requested that they may avoid addressing him as ‘Your Lordship’ or ‘My Lord’ and also saying obliged and grateful.”
“What else can be a better indicator of equality before the law,” says a former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge in context of Justice Tyagi’s request to become independent from the colonial legacy so deeply engrained in the Indian justice delivery mechanism.
To address or not to address the Judges as “My Lords” has always been a contentious question among the advocates. Describing it as a relic of the Raj, some lawyers have all along been arguing that “My Lord” is an expression of submission. They have, rather, been demanding that the Judges should honour the mandate of equality enshrined in the Constitution of India by doing away to with the colonial practice of addressing the Judges as “My Lord” or “Your Lordship”.
Available information suggests the then Chief Justice of India, Justice H L Dattu, in 2014 had made it clear that addressing the Judges as “Your Lordship” was it not mandatory. “When did we say it is compulsory? You can only call us in a dignified manner...Don’t address us as ‘lordship’. We don’t say anything. We only say address us respectfully,” Justice Dattu had asserted.
Even before that, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association passed a resolution to address the Judges as “Sir” instead of “My Lord”. The Association, in April 2011, had unanimously resolved “to drop the long pending symbol of slavery of the British Rule and colonial legacy to address the honorable Judges as My Lord, or My Lordship or Your Lord or Your Lordship”. It was also resolves to address the Judges “in accordance with the values of our Republican Constitution as Sir”.
The members were also asked to comply with the resolution in letter and spirit and were warned of “strict action” in case of non-compliance.
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