A law student got an impromptu lesson in the correct manner of addressing Supreme Court judges by none other than the Chief Justice of India during a virtual hearing on Tuesday.
The student, Shrikant Prasad, was arguing in person his PIL petition for the filling up of vacancies in subordinate criminal courts across the country.
Mr. Prasad introduced himself as a law student and went on to address the Bench as “Your Honour” while making his submissions.
At one point, the CJI politely intervened to say, “you are a law student, you say? We are not particular what you call us. But you must be having the U.S. Supreme Court in mind or the Magistrate Court when you address us as ‘Your Honour’… We are neither.”
Mr. Prasad apologised and said he would call them “My Lords”.
“Whatever … But don’t use incorrect terms,” the CJI said.
Then Justice V. Ramasubramanian asked Mr. Prasad whether he had done a thorough research on the issue highlighted in his PIL.
Justice Ramasubramanian informed Mr. Prasad that the apex court was already seized of the problem of vacancies in subordinate courts. The court had been monitoring the issue on a national scale in the Malik Mazhar Sultan case.
“You have not heard of this case? There is no mention of this in your petition,” Justice Ramasubramanian addressed Mr. Prasad.
Chief Justice Bobde again intervened while the student groped for a response. The Chief Justice asked Mr. Prasad to take time to research his case properly.
“We are adjourning your case. You do your research,” Chief Justice Bobde told the student.
The case was listed after four weeks.
Bar Council statement
Bar Council of India chairman, senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, issued a statement later in the day that a resolution was made on September 28, 2019 to address judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts as “My Lord” or “Your Lordships” or “Hon’ble Court.” The judicial officers of subordinate courts, tribunals and other forums would be addressed as “Your Honour” or “Sir” or the equivalent word in respective regional languages.