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"Stop calling me 'My Lord' in return for half of my salary": Supreme Court judge shuns colonial-era practice

By Shreya Agarwal      03 November, 2023 04:16 PM      0 Comments
Stop calling me My Lord in return for half of my salary Supreme Court judge shuns colonial era practice

New Delhi: Justice PS Narasimha of the Supreme Court recently expressed his displeasure at being addressed as "My Lord/Your Lordship" by a senior advocate in a regular hearing in the Supreme Court. How many times will you say 'My Lords'? If you stop saying this, I will give you half of my salary, he said.

Justice PS Narasimha was presiding on the bench with Justice A S Bopanna.

He requested to be addressed as 'Sir' instead, and said not doing so would compel him to start counting the number of times he had been addressed as "My Lord" by the counsel.

The practice of referring to judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court as 'My Lord/My Lady', and to judges of lower courts as 'Your Honour' has been passed down to the Indian judicial system from the colonial era.

The expression 'My Lord' comes from the mid-13c., terms 'laverd, loverd', from Old English hlaford meaning the "master of a household, ruler, feudal lord, superior; husband," also "God".

In the British social hierarchical system judges, bishops or noblemen were often referred to as 'Lords' as a mark of respect.

While in 2006, the Bar Council of India passed a resolution deciding that no advocate would address judges as "My Lords" and "Your Lordships", it failed to be followed in practice.



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