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UNDERSTANDING WIT AND HUMOUR IN THE COURTROOM

INTRODUCTION

Legal proceedings can be tense and emotionally charged, and humour can be a way to defuse some of that tension. Humour in the courtroom can be a double-edged sword. Used appropriately, it can effectively connect with the judge or jury, lighten the mood or emphasize a point. However, if used inappropriately or taken too far, it can backfire, harm the lawyer’s credibility, or offend the judge or jury. It is typically consumed with levity and is much cherished since it builds strength between the bar and the bench via such instances. This research paper will emphasize the instances of the nature and the effects of humour inside the Indian Judiciary. It will depict the courtroom setting where the humour is caused and the judge’s role with impact on social relations it generates. A lot of laughter also permeates the daily work lives of attorneys along with justice. The author of this article will also dispel the myth that Indian courts are impervious to humour.

MAIN IDEA BEHIND THE COURTROOM HUMOUR

Humour probably won’t be normal in the supposedly sullen and serious setting of an official courtroom. The Court can assist with revealing insight into how urgent those relevant elements are to political entertainers’ utilization of humour. Legal counsellors need to peruse the space to understand their listeners’ perspectives well. Indeed, even an endeavour at humour that is planned to lay out compatibility with an appointed authority or jury through some common social perception can put on a show of being improper, deigning or made to another person’s detriment.

SIGNIFICANT ASPECT TO DEAL WITH THE COURTROOM HUMOUR 

A common person’s mental picture of a courtroom is one with arguments, a dull atmosphere, monotony, and stoic seriousness. Even though this is true to some extent when it comes to court proceedings, the Indian legal system does have its share of humorous moments. The fact that courts are regarded as equivalent to temples in that they provide people with justice is probably the source of this public perception. Despite the solemnity of the proceedings that are expected to take place in courtrooms, the profession of law is never considered to be dull. Take, for instance, the Madras High Court, which is thought to have been influenced by the British era, for its sense of humour and satire. In point of fact, the judge of any courtroom is also a human being who possesses an innate sense of humour as well as a talent for sarcasm and wit. These wit and humorous activities are carried out in both Indian and international courtrooms.

ANALYSIS

There are also cultural factors to consider when it comes to humour in Indian courtrooms. India is a diverse country with many different cultural traditions and values and what may be considered humorous in one region or community may not be in another, In general humour and wit are often used in Indian courtrooms to see tension or lighten the mood during long and emotionally charged proceedings.

Indian Courtroom Humour: Contrary to the prevalent assumption that Indian courts cannot take a joke, there have been a few occasions in which justices have delivered rulings that are filled with wit and humour, spicing up the generally dry judicial pronouncements.  In Madras High Court, When the judge asked the plaintiff’s attorney about the loud noises the plaintiff was making while searching for his missing item, the attorney apologised to the court and said that his client was searching for a lost jacket. The judge spoke in an instant, saying, “Remind your client that so far he has only lost his jacket while many people have lost their suits themselves.” In response, the judge told him to wait.[1] Hon’ble Justice G.S. Patel of the Bombay High Court is renowned for his dry humour and sarcasm, and his decisions frequently display this wit. In a 2016 lawsuit, GoAir Ltd requested that Interglobe Aviation Ltd’s web address, “goindigo.in,” be ordered to drop the prefix “go.” In introducing the case, the Honourable Justice stated that Indigo’s domain name “GoAir” had intellectual property difficulties with Indigo’s prefix Go (though presumably not with the trailing go, which is a little mercy as that might be a demand that Indigo be rechristened Indi).” Go Holding Pvt Ltd added Google India Ltd as a defendant in the lawsuit. Although the Advocate acknowledged that word wasn’t the reason.[2] Contempt v, perjury-a witty reminiscence, According to the case during the hearing, it is believed that Justice Kuldip Singh demanded something from Ramaswamy out of frustration. Ramaswamy is known for his quick comebacks on the Supreme Court. You think we are fools?” to which Ramaswamy responded with great seriousness: I have been put in a very difficult situation by my lords. I will be treated with contempt if I agree, and I will lie if I disagree. That got even the appointed authorities chuckling.[3] In Allahabad High Court, Justice Mahmood left the bench in 1894, he recommenced his practice before the judicial commissioner’s court in Lucknow. Due to his excessive drinking, he entered the court less sober and began arguing against his own client. His junior brought up the error. After quickly shifting positions, Mr Mahmood said to the judge, “Sir, I have said everything my erudite friend on the other side could have said on behalf of his client. I’m going to disprove these claims now. He then proceeded to use extraordinary intelligence to disprove every one of his own arguments, winning the case. This anecdote highlights how effectively employed wit can be as a tool for persuasion. [4]

CONCLUSION

The lawyer’s use of humour in court does not imply a lack of seriousness on their part; occasionally, even the judges show their sense of humour. A courtroom filled with people would be more lively as a result of this practice, which would also benefit constitutional health and strengthen democracy by expanding speech freedom. There are only a few instances in the Indian legal system where a lawyer’s wit and sarcasm have been praised rather than derided. In addition, it is nowhere near as liberated as lawyers in American or British courts. However, perhaps lawyers will not lose their appeals and justice can be served with a smile if the judicial system can learn to accept humour without treating lawyers who use humour as a weapon with contempt. In a few cases where judgment or way of talking could come up short, a feeling of mind could make all the difference. Advocates who know when to use humour gain mental relief and, to a certain extent, even a reduction in workload. Humour can achieve with little disruption, pain or offense what vexed arguments and mortal combat between the Bench and its mother-the Bar would do at great cost. [5] The bond between the Bar and Bench should always cherish even when wit and humour spice things up. In modern times, the upcoming lawyers should not hold a grudge for the mockery done by the bench with no strings attached.

Author(s) Name: Radhika Gawali (MIT-World Peace University School of Law, Pune)

References:

[1] C. Madhumita, ‘Wild Wild Wit: A Lawyer’s Weapon, The Opinion’ (Medium, 05 September 2020) <https://medium.com/the-%C3%B3pinion/wild-wild-wit-a-lawyers-weapon-3f031bf71fc4> accessed 27 April 2023

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Sanjoy Ghose, ‘Why was the young man repeatedly interrupting the thirteen well-dressed gentlemen? A case for courtroom humour’ (Bar and Bench, 15 September 2020) <https://www.barandbench.com/columns/a-case-for-courtroom-humour> accessed 27 April 2023