‘Man Or Woman, A Judge Should Be Addressed As Sir, Rather Than My Lord Or Your Honour’

Justice Sonia Gokani

The Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Sonia Gokani on Thursday directed that a Judge whether man or a woman, the proper way to address them is to call him/her ‘Sir’ rather than Milord’ Or ‘Your Honour.’

During the hearing of a case, Chief Justice Gokani was prompted to make the remark after an advocate repeatedly addressed the bench led by Chief Justice Gokani as ‘Your Ladyship’.

The bench also comprised of Justice Sandeep N. Bhatt.

So, when the bench reminded the advocate that he should be addressing and acknowledging both judges, the lawyer apologised and said it was never his goal to address only one judge of the bench.

He also mentioned that he should have addressed the bench as ‘Your Lordships’.

Many a times, in the General Clauses Act, we say he includes she; sometimes she includes he also…We believe it should be either ‘sir’ or ‘madam’… It should be sir. That is the right way of doing it rather than ‘Milord’ or ‘Your honour’. So let it be gender neutral,” Chief Justice Gokani stated.

To this, Senior Advocate Mihir Thakore responded by saying that the term ‘Her Ladyship’ was not the proper way to address a woman judge and that it should be ‘My Lady’ instead.

Chief Justice Gokani responded by recalling a time when the National Judicial Academy was discussing the proper way to address judges because some felt that using the title “Your Lord” was too feudalistic.

At that time, the former Chief Justice, SJ Mukhopadhyay, stated that the majority of attorneys had already switched to the title “Sir.”

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