Do feel obliged.
WHILE arguing a case in the High Court the Hon’ble judge passed suitable order and disposed of the case for that day. While leaving the Board I bow my head before the Hon’ble the Court with folded hands and said ‘obliged’ and left the court room. During tea time one designated Senior Advocate had some routine talks with me and while talking he asked me Mr. Namjoshi! I was sitting in the court room while you were arguing your case and the Lordship passed suitable order but why did you express the word ‘obliged’? He further said that it was the duty of the court/judge to pass suitable orders and the order was passed but why did you feel obliged? Again I said I am obliged by your question Sir! I just gave a smile and said that it is my pet word which I usually use it. I also said I do not suffer from any inferiority complex but I feel honoured in expressing my respect towards courts and judicial system by such means. I said by using such words the judge never feels obliged because he has to pass suitable orders according to the facts and law applicable to a case. He has also no scope to oblige any one as he is under duty/obligation to do justice. For him it is a moral as well as legal requirement; that is the duty cast on him by law and the Constitution and for us the state, fact, or feeling of being indebted to another for a special service or favor of pleasant hearing received. Now days advocates have grievance that some times advocates do not get patient hearing in their cases due to want of time. The other aspect is how far the advocates are ready to answer instantly the query put to them while arguing their cases. It is also marked that advocates are not well prepared with their cases and for arguing matters. So far as duty is concerned is it not the duty of advocates to follow the professional ethics? Is not the obligation imposed on advocates by code of conduct? We all advocates get Hon’ble treatment from courts. Can’t we feel obliged? Duty is a reciprocal matter coupled with rights also. Therefore an advocate cannot excuse himself by saying that he has no duty towards courts. I feel there is no negative reflection if we behave with courtesy to courts and all concerned with the profession. Don’t advocates get pleasure if they get graceful hearing and treatment from courts? Will it not be graceful to express gratitude for the tributes/compliments which are bestowed by the courts on advocates?
It is not that I always win cases. Some times I also lose cases. Apart from the result of a case what I do is I fold hands, bow my head before the court and say obliged. It is a feeling of gesture of paying respect to the Hon’ble the Courts. By doing so the judge is certainly not influenced and does not become bias either favorably or adversely but we make the atmosphere of the court pleasant, peaceful and enthusiastic both for advocates and the judges. Is it not our obligation to maintain harmony between Bar and Bench? Those who work in the court either as advocates or judges know how the atmosphere is generally tense. Here tense means taut, a state of mental nervousness or high strung.
I had also been a judge of the district judiciary and I have personal experience about the Bar and Bench both. The conventions, Practice, custom or any rule does not require to bow head, fold hands and to express obligation but at the same time it is our culture, character and family back ground that makes us to have natural actions/gestures and not just formal rituals without any intention , knowledge and meaningless acts. It is just natural to express thanks for any work done by any one for other. To express obligation means any action, courtesy, communication, etc. intended for effect or as a formality. When we make the atmosphere smooth, pleasant, fair comfortable Merry or lively we our self feel happy that we are yet following our culture and character which keeps us to be righteous self. We feel pleasure in it. Such behavior is morally acceptable by the society. One thing more that is beaten path is safest.(Mahajano Yena Gatha: Sa Pantha). If we show such gestures of respect, I think some juniors may also pick up good things from us and they may start acting in right manner and with etiquettes. Every thing cannot be termed as only bare dry duty but it should have a meaning full sense of pleasant feeling of discharging duties. Those who discharge duties also require quiet and peaceful atmosphere not only for theme but for those also for whom they are performing duties that is the beneficiaries
Philips Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield, 4th Earl’s one quote is like this- “Patience, to hear frivolous, impertinent, and unreasonable applications: with address enough to refuse, without offending; or, by your manner of granting, to double the obligation: dexterity enough to conceal a truth, without telling a lie: sagacity enough to read other people's countenances: and serenity enough not to let them discover anything by yours; a seeming frankness, with a real reserve. These are the rudiments of a politician (judge! Added by me); the world must be your grammar.”
Can advocates afford to be rude and instead of saying obliged before leaving court say good bye or bye- bye or see you? Can we afford to write a petition without using courteous words? The law does not requires all this but it is the long time established practice of the judiciary which has never hurt or harmed any one but has made the judiciary more and more strong and independent. Let us believe our system and judges and advocates working under it. Maintain the faith in the system.
However it was the greatness of the senior advocate who said I just asked out of curiosity and your activeness even at the septuagenarian age and did not mean any thing more. I said thanks and sought permission to leave.