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THE problem with any attempt at a courtroom wisecrack is that it can just disappear in some crack if the judge is not wise enough to catch it!
A kind-hearted,well-meaning but not-too-bright Milord who tried his best not to displease anyone had the habit of saying every now and then:
“You are right.But he is also right.
Now what can be done?”
An enthusiastic counsel appearing for workmen of Dena Bank in a case challenging some unjustified recoveries being sought to be made from them by their employer was facing a wily opponent who countered every submission.
Milord was blessing both sides with a nice smile and uttering that famous sentence:
“You are right.But he is also right.Now what can be done?”
Quite exasperated,the workmen’s counsel thought that a wisecrack would probably break the monotony and enliven the proceedings.
He looked at Milord,who was dutifully noting down every submission and declared:
“Milord may see from the facts of this case that Dena Bank has become Lena Bank”
There were giggles from many in the courtroom.
Even Milord looked very interested.
But he did not laugh.
Not even a hint of a smile.
He just picked up his pencil and asked in all earnestness:
“Can you please tell me the date on which this name change took place?”
Everyone was stunned that the judge had not understood that it was just a joke!
The smile had vanished from the wise-cracking counsel’s face too.
He just muttered:”Never mind,milord.I was just saying it in a lighter vein”
At this,milord set aside his pencil and asked with a broad grin:
“Oh,was that a joke?
The counsel nodded sheepishly.
But Milord too had probably caught the wisecrack by then.
He started laughing as if it was the funniest thing he had heard in a long,long time!
And with that all the muffled giggles again erupted in a well-deserved chorus of laughter.
For the record,the goody-goody milord went as a CJ to a northern State where his “Now what can be done?”attitude was much appreciated.
That earned him an out-of-turn promotion to the SC where his accomodative attitude of not having any view different from the senior judges made him a most sought after colleague.
He is now popular as an arbitrator.
The wise-cracking counsel too moved on.
He got designated as a Senior Advocate,shifted to New Delhi and has established a good practice there.
‘Dena Bank’ did not become ‘Lena Bank’ but was merged with Bank of Baroda with effect from April 1,2019.
No one knows till now why “All Fools Day” was chosen.