Supreme Court's Light-Hearted Hearing: Whiskey, Holi, and Legal Humor

Amidst the weighty legal discussions, the humorous exchange between Chief Justice Chandrachud and Senior Advocate Dwivedi served as a refreshing reminder of the human side of the judiciary.

General Philip Campose
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Dinesh Dwivedi
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In a recent Supreme Court hearing by the 9-judge constitution bench delving into the intricate realms of industrial alcohol regulation and jurisdictional control, an unexpected dose of humor injected a light-hearted tone into the typically solemn proceedings. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Senior Advocate Dinesh Dwivedi found themselves engaged in a jovial exchange, sparking laughter and camaraderie among those present.


The light-hearted moment unfolded as Dwivedi, sporting a vibrant Holi-inspired hairdo, took his place before the bench. Dwivedi humorously remarked, "Apologies for my colorful grey hair," attributing the vibrant hues to lively Holi celebrations and the presence of numerous grandchildren. "This is the downside of being surrounded by so many children and grandchildren. You just can't escape it."

In response, Chief Justice Chandrachud, wearing a smile, quipped, "No chance it's related to alcohol then?"

The playful banter drew chuckles from the courtroom, setting the stage for a memorable interaction.

Dwivedi, embracing the jovial atmosphere, confessed his fondness for whiskey, attributing his colorful hair partly to the festive spirit of Holi and partly to his love for the spirit. His candid admission further amused the courtroom, showcasing a rare moment of informality and warmth within the formal setting of the judiciary.

During the proceedings, Dwivedi shared his affinity for Scotch whisky and recounted a humorous incident where he found himself on the brink of trouble.

"I'm partial to single malt whiskey," he confessed. "During a visit to Edinburgh, renowned as the Mecca of single-malt whiskey, I made the innocent mistake of requesting some ice cubes to accompany my drink. To my surprise, the waiter was visibly offended, insisting that single malt should be enjoyed neat, without any mixers. It was the first time I encountered such strict adherence to whiskey etiquette," he chuckled.

As the banter subsided, the nine-judge Constitution Bench remained focused on the central question at hand: whether "industrial alcohol" should be treated similarly to traditional intoxicating liquors in terms of regulatory control. Despite the humorous interlude, the bench grappled with the legal intricacies of the case, emphasizing the gravity of the matter under consideration.

Despite delving into the legal complexities of the case, the bench embraced humor during the proceedings. One judge wittily commented on the revenue-generating aspect of intoxicating drinks, jesting, "Whether intoxicating drinks bring joy to human beings or not, they should at least bring joy to state revenue." Another judge joined the light-hearted banter by suggesting the use of a material exhibit to showcase the distinctions between different types of alcohol, prompting even more laughter throughout the courtroom.

Throughout the hearing, Dwivedi, representing the state of Uttar Pradesh, presented compelling arguments regarding the regulation and taxation of industrial alcohol. He underscored the significance of state autonomy in legislative matters, challenging the notion of exclusive control by the Centre.

The case, with its complex legal nuances and jurisdictional implications, underscores the evolving dynamics of federalism and regulatory frameworks in India. As the Supreme Court deliberates on the matter, its decision will undoubtedly shape future policies and legal interpretations in the realm of alcohol regulation.

Amidst the weighty legal discussions, the humorous exchange between Chief Justice Chandrachud and Senior Advocate Dwivedi served as a refreshing reminder of the human side of the judiciary. It highlighted the cultural significance of Holi, a festival known for its vibrant colors and joyful celebrations, while also showcasing the camaraderie that can emerge even in the most formal of settings.

As the case continues to unfold, observers await the Supreme Court's decision with anticipation, mindful of the serious implications it holds for regulatory frameworks and state autonomy. Yet, amidst the legal complexities, the memory of a light-hearted exchange serves as a reminder that even in the pursuit of justice, there is room for laughter and camaraderie.

Supreme Court industrial alcohol regulation Supreme court constitution bench Advocate Dinesh Dwivedi Chief Justice DY Chandrachud Supreme Court hearing