The Chair is not reserved for Sir

Yesterday, a lawyer appearing before Justice Rekha Palli, a sitting Judge before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, got irked, when a Lawyer appearing before her addressed her as Sir.

Justice Rekha politely pointed it out to the Advocate that she was not Sir. To which the Advocate replied that it was because of the position that he had addressed her as Sir.

This may seem like a small incidence but it is something that needs to be highlighted. In our First year of Law College we when we start appearing for moot courts, we are taught the basic Etiquettes of Court, which include, on how to address the Court, how to stand, how to initiate an argument, how to present your case, how to close your arguments etc. When you address a Male Judge we generally say Your Lordship and when its a Female Judge we generally address her as Your Ladyship. When you practice in the High Courts, this protocol must be followed. Your Etiquettes dictate your Pedigree and those present in the Court room judge you for the same.

It was sad and an unfortunate incidence, while some may say that this is just a small slip of tongue and nothing to be exaggerated about. Somewhere , deep down, this incidence reflects the gender injustice that happens in the profession, which is supposed to fight for Gender Justice. It is a fact that the number of Women in our profession are very less and the Gender ratio of Men and Women in the legal profession is far more disturbing. A friend had once pointed it out to me on how there were very few married women in legal Profession especially in the field of practise. So until and unless, you were either not married to a lawyer or into a family full of lawyers or a businessman, there are very less chances that a woman post marriage and kids would continue to practise. One of the major reason being the long working hours and strong prejudice against women in the field of Law.

There are a number of times, that I have been addressed as Sir, these days you have the benefit of having a display picture for your email and social media profiles, yet despite several written conversations with the front person. I have been addressed as Sir. Earlier I used to loose my peace of mind over the same but later on I figured out that it is just lack of observational skills in the opposite person and now I judge the opposite person. Everyone thinks that life in Urban Cities is cool, women have freedom and women have been treated as equals. No, it is not always true. There have been times, when I have seen sheer disappointment on people’s faces, when they came to know that they have to work with a woman or have to take instructions from a Woman. But I am a Snob and a Brat and in a few minutes I can turn from a perfectly reticent girl to Snobbish South Bombay Queen. My way of dealing with Gender differentiation is by confronting them or being more prejudiced about them.

Lawyers are the people who are supposed to fight for Gender Justice and try and end Gender Discrimination. We first need to accept the fact that a woman can be successful, have a career and she can be your boss. I am sure everyone, who clears Law College has learnt basic English, wherein we use HE and She for different Genders.

The sad part was that I faced more Gender Discrimination, from the new Millennials, whom I had expected to be more modern and cool but no, they were more older than the Dinosaurs in their thoughts. The fun part is that prejudice and and discrimination increases manifold when people know that you are married and you are a mother. On Mother’s Day and Women’s Day, we pass around such motivational messages on our social media, yet we treat them and judge them every single day. Double Standards !!

It wouldn’t have bothered me much if someone, from a different profession behaved in this manner, but it is more upsetting when lawyers behave this way. Those 6 months of hard work that your teachers put in teaching you Constitution of India goes in vain, when you conduct yourself in such high handed manner. A position is not meant only for men or women. The person should be addressed according to their gender. Even today, we are trying to make designations Gender Neutral like, we address the head as Chairperson instead of Chairman, how we used to do earlier.

So, if you do not want to embarrass yourself and your English teachers further. Please check the Gender of the person you are communicating with and address them accordingly.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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