'No need to call us my lord or lordship, sir is good enough'

"ALL that judges need is a respectful and dignified way of addressing them. You don't need to call us 'my lord' or 'lordship' always; calling us 'sir' is good enough for us." This was the message the Supreme Court Monday sent out to lawyers and litigants.

A Bench of Justices H L Dattu and S A Bobde said it was the choice of the lawyers how to address them but the court was clear that it only wanted a respectful address to the chair.

"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 expression and we accept everything," the Bench said.

The response came in the wake of a PIL by a 75-year-old lawyer who sought to change the practice of addressing judges as 'my lord', 'lordship' and 'your honour' among other similar addresses.

Lawyer Shiv Sagar Tiwari deprecated the practice, saying it was a symbol of slavery and against the dignity of the country. He claimed that Lord Macaulay, who is credited with introducing the English education system, intended to replace the indigenous system so as to to treat Indians as slaves. Tiwari sought a directive to restrain all lawyers from addressing judges as 'my lord.'

The Bench however was unimpressed with his "negative prayer".

"When did we say call us only as 'my lord'? We only say address us respectfully. But at the same time, can we say don't address as 'my lord' or 'your lordship' or we would haul you up for contempt? Can we direct our brother judges not to accept 'your lord' as it is obnoxious? No, we can't be passing such orders," said the Bench.

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