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THIS is a story about a lazy milord of Bombay High Court who often used to enter the courtroom looking thoroughly bored and stifling a yawn.
He belonged to a distinguished legal family from Nagpur and had shone at the Bar resulting in a super fast-tracked elevation to the Bench.
Somehow, the Bombay lawyers failed to impress him..and he always appeared to be uncomfortable on his seat.
Not that he was not intelligent.
Even had a fine sense of humour.
But a sort of ennui seemed to have taken over.
The routine stuff dished out by the same old chefs of the bar, day-in and day-out, was obviously becoming unpalatable to milord.
He did various neck exercises, shifted around a lot in his chair and constantly contorted his face making it difficult for counsel to understand whether he was at all paying any attention to any of their submissions.
This incident belongs to that restless period.
Milord had become quite senior and was heading a Division Bench.
Once, an aged lawyer with all white hair was arguing an appeal for admission.
Milord stopped fidgeting and began staring at the lawyer very intently.
All of us sitting in the courtroom waiting for our cases,were very pleasantly surprised to witness the intensity of attention so uncharacteristically bestowed upon this aged lawyer’s arguments by milord.
Though senior in age,this lawyer was not a “designated senior”.
His case too was nothing out of the ordinary..and the arguments were pedestrian.
The case deserved admission and perhaps a status quo.
But we could not understand what milord found so interesting so as to continue this hearing blocking the rest of the board.
Even leaders of the bar and designated seniors had never received such attention from milord!
Such matters took a maximum of ten minutes before this bench.
Encouraged by the rapt attention however, the old lawyer kept formulating the same submission in various ways for more than an hour before the DB, adjusting his specs and reading from the voluminous paper-book of the case.
The junior milord now started looking impatient.
But his senior brother on the bench seemed engrossed and kept looking at the old lawyer throughout..without interrupting him even once.
So the poor junior milord had no option but to sit patiently and wonder what the senior milord found so very engaging in these submissions.
Finally, the ageing lawyer,clearly out of breath, got exhausted.
He had completed repeating all his submissions..and the senior judge appeared to have heard every submission with the same unwavering concentration every time.
It was time to stop.
Hence,the old lawyer finally wound up by saying..
“That’s all Milords!..unless Milords have some query?”
At this stage,the senior milord gave a big smile and said..
“Yes, I have a query.
All along I have been admiring these new spectacles you are wearing.
I was waiting for you to stop..so that I could ask you..
Lawyer: Ask me what,milord?
Senior Milord: Where did you buy these specs from?”
The old lawyer then proceeded to give milord the details of the shop.
Milord was very happy.
Lawyer: Milords, what about my Appeal?
Milord: Ah! Your Appeal..I almost forgot..yes,admitted.
Hearing expedited. Parties to maintain the status quo.
As lunch break was just half an hour away,the bench rose early..
We, who had waited since morning,trooped out dejected..having realised that the spectacle of prolonged hearing which we had just witnessed was because of a pair of spectacles!