Saturday, Aug 20, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×

Wrap Up The Case

Of advocates’ robes, Delhi heat & a tweet

Wrap Up The Case Tribhuvan Tiwari

As temperatures soar in Delhi’s oppressive summer, Supreme Court lawyers in their sweeping, heat-trapping black robes must have read sweet hope in additional solicitor-general Indira Jaising’s tweet: “Summer is hear (sic), why do we need the gown? If the High Court can get rid of it, why not the Supreme Court?” Maybe even the ‘hear’ is a Freudian slip on her part, an expression of an earnest desire to be heard. The court is taking a short summer vacation, and Indira’s tweet may get some mulling over. If something comes of it at all, what those 140 characters achieve could be as sweeping as what happened when the  Bar Council adopted a resolution to drop the “milords”, “your lordships” and so on, colonial forms of addressing judges that made way for the formal yet just that bit egalitarian “your honour” or “the honourable court”. In fact, some senior advocates drop even that on occasion, making do with a simple “sir”.

But the robe is a sticky issue. It is not only seen as lending gravitas to court proceedings but also as giving the profession a visual identity, much like white coats for doctors and hospital green or blue for surgeons. Some advocates, like Nikhil Mehra, don’t really want the suit and robe to go. “There’s a certain professional decorum in wearing the robe and the Supreme Court, after all, is the tallest court of the land,” he says and, should there be a change, he’d prefer the option of wearing the robe over shirt and trousers instead of over the formal suit, as is done now.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement