Rajasthan High Court: Sameer Jain, J., directed the petitioners to file amended cause title at all respective places.
The instant facts of the case are such that this Court observed that respondent 1 was titled Raja Laxman Singh on perusal of the cause title of the petition.
The Court relied on judgment Raghunathrao Ganpatrao v. Union of India, 1994 Supp (1) SCC 191 wherein it was observed that in view of 26th constitutional amendment, the State of Rajasthan do endorse the view that use of prefixes and suffixes, other than military or academic distinction in terms of Article 18 of the Constitution of India, are abolished and are violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
In Balaji Raghavan v. Union of India, (1996) 1 SCC 361 it was observed:
- Hereditary titles of nobility conflict with the principle of equality insofar as they create a separate, identifiable class of people who are distinct from the rest of society and have access to special privileges. Titles that are not hereditary but carry suffixes or prefixes have the same effect, though, the degree may be lesser. While other Constitutions also prohibit the conferment of titles of nobility, ours may perhaps be unique in requiring that awards conferred by the State are not to be used as suffixes or prefixes. This difference is borne out of the peculiar problems that these titles had created in pre-independent India and the earnest desire of the framers to prevent the repetition of these circumstances in Free, Independent India.”
The Court observed that on perusal of Article 14, 18 and 363A of the Constitution of India as well as the judgments rendered by the Supreme Court in Raghunathrao Ganpatrao (supra) and Balaji Raghavan (supra), this Court is of the view that any title awarded to the citizen of India by a Foreign State cannot be accepted nor used and no such title, other than the military or academic distinctions, can be conferred other than by the State. In terms of Article 363A of the Constitution of India, the heredity titles of nobility being in conflict with the principles of equality and contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India cannot be used as prefixes or suffixes.
The Court held “in Constitutional Courts, all other Courts, Tribunals, public offices of the State etc., the use of salutation and titles is prohibited in terms of Articles 14 18 and 363A of the Constitution of India. The said restriction will also apply in the public domain as well as public documents & public offices.”[Bhagwati Singh v. Raja Laxman Singh, S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 20051/2019, decided on 03-02-2022]
For Petitioner(s) : Ms. Suruchi Kasliwal, Adv.
For Respondent(s) : Mr. Vagish Kr. Singh, Adv. for Mr. Aashish Kr. Singh, Adv. Mr. MS Singhvi,