Legal Articles


ON 16th May,  2017 in a reply to this writer-advocate, who had questioned the unabated usage of the colonial prefix “Justice” before the names of the Supreme Court and High Court Judges, the CPGRAMS, the online public grievances portal of Central Government responded that his suggestions have been forwarded to the Secretary-General, Supreme Court of India for further action, as appropriate. In his plea, this petitioner while firstly applauded the ruling Modi  Sarkar’s  bold and daring decision for completely dispensing away with colonial Red Beacons as well as all sort of beacons from the vehicles of all official and political dignitaries of our country with effect from May 1, 2017 thus paving the way for constitution of a New India, highlighted another archaic practice still continuing even after seven decades of attaining Independence from British rulers but till date no ruling dispensation has even endeavoured to revisit the same much less than duly abolishing the same. The word JUSTICE as prefixed before names of the Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts seems to be like a Title before their names in the eyes of every Indian. Pertinent that Article 18(1) of our Constitution strictly prohibits conferment of any ‘Title’ except military and academic by the State. By any stretch of imagination, neither Justice is an academic nor a military title. Hence usage of prefix Justice has not got any sort of constitutional sanctity. When this citizen by taking recourse to RTI Act , 2005 in the year 2015 sought information in this regard from the office of Prime Minister of India, President’s Secretariat, Supreme Court of India etc. everyone transferred his plea to the Department of Justice under Union Law Ministry which deals with issuing Warrants of Appointment or in other words appointment orders of Supreme Court and High Court Judges. The Department of Justice categorically replied that regarding the usage of the prefix Justice, there is no Rule or Law in this matter. This has been the practice for a long time. In case of fresh appointment, the prefix Justice is not used in the Warrant of Appointment but when the serving Additional Judge is appointed as Permanent Judge, the prefix Justice has been used in the Warrant of Appointment. But the actual fact is that even Additional Judges of all High Courts in the country have been using the prefix Justice before their names.  Be that as it may, in view of the above, it is crystal clear that till date there is no rule/regulation/order, etc. under which the prefix Justice is allowed to be prefixed before names of the Supreme Court and High Court Judges and the same is nothing but a convention or tradition which has been blindly followed ever since the time of British era and continuing even after attainment of Independence. Further, even after attaining age of superannuation, the retired Supreme Court and High Court Judges keep prefixing the word Justice before their names during their whole lifetime, although mostly with the phrase Retired, including when they are appointed to some post-retirement assignment by an appropriate Government. Hence, this petitioner humbly exhorted   the Prime Minister of India for now the time has come to take a call to completely abolish this colonial practice of usage of the prefix Justice before the names of Supreme Court and High Court Judges on the same lines as has been done in case of Red Beacons. It remains to be seen if or when the incumbent Modi Sarkar would decide to completely abolish the usage of colonial prefix “Justice”.

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