Madras HC prescribes dress code in temples

The court also directed the state government to take a decision on this issue and directed the authorities to implement the court-mandated dress code from January 2016.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 11, 2015 5:03 am
Madras High Court, temples dress code, temple dress code, Gramiya Adal Padal Vizha, dhoti, pyjama, nation news, india news The HC has prescribed dhoti and shirt or pyjama “with upper cloth” for men and saree or half-saree or churidar “with upper cloth” for women.

The Madurai bench of Madras High Court has ordered that police should ensure a dress code for people entering temples —dhoti and shirt or pyjama “with upper cloth” for men and saree or half-saree or churidar “with upper cloth” for women. Children can wear “any fully covered dress”.

The court also directed the state government to take a decision on this issue and directed the authorities to implement the court-mandated dress code from January 2016. It also directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department to communicate to all temples to strictly adhere to the dress code.

The order, issued by Justice S Vaidyanathan on November 26, came during the hearing of a writ petition seeking the court’s permission to hold a “Gramiya Adal Padal Vizha” (musical dance programme) at a temple in Akkiyampatti village in Trichy district. The court said the objective of the order is to restrict devotees from wearing improper clothing.

“According to Christianity, a general lesson from the New Testament is that we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate. Standards of dress are different from church to church and change over time, but we should avoid any style of dress that is offensive or sends a message opposing the church community’s values,” the judgment said.

The judge observed that Islam also insists on a dress code: “Sleeves should reach to each wrist and the hair should be covered by a headscarf. Pants or skirts that are too revealing, clingy, or tight should not be worn and the dress permissible to men for worship is that they should wear long pants and plain shirts without messages or slogans when visiting mosques.”

The judgment said that prescribing dress code for devotees is inevitable in Tamil Nadu “to enhance the spiritual ambience among devotees”. It also referred to the recently imposed dress code banning short skirts and shorts in Somnath temple and a similar rule in Tirupati temple.

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  1. R
    Rudram
    Jan 5, 2016 at 12:27 am
    This judge cannot transpose lessons from New Testament to Hindu religion. He is an .
    Reply
  2. T
    Tara Muthu
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm
    I think that as long as the dress is not too revealing it should be alright. In fact kurtis, leggings r jeans cover more than an average saree r half saree does. Dress code should be more on an advisory note than an enforcement
    Reply
  3. R
    rhambo
    Dec 11, 2015 at 4:01 am
    The indian judiciary has become a laughing stock and making a fool of itself. Needless inteference in administrative matters or religious matters. It does not do its own job properly but has all the advise in the world for others. It has to better spend its time on making sure cases are not needlessly adjourned and are settled within short time, not make needless comments but stick to matters of the case. Can you ever imagine something like this in UK or USA? India needs to learn from the west
    Reply
  4. G
    George Scaria
    Dec 28, 2015 at 11:56 am
    This is a totally wrong direction in which the court goes...How can a court of law can order on a dress code at temples or churches??All will agree that someone should not enter a religious place of worship in improper dress...But this is little too much....
    Reply
  5. G
    guestfromindia
    Dec 11, 2015 at 6:06 am
    Temple visitors can learn a thing or two from the Church goers - orderliness and tidiness in and around the temple. With dress the court decision unfortunately picked wrong examples.
    Reply
  6. I
    indian
    Dec 11, 2015 at 3:12 am
    The dress code is based on traditions which differ for different temples - how can a uniform code be imposed ? In any case, shouldnt these norms be made by religious bodies ?
    Reply
  7. J
    Jimmy George
    Dec 11, 2015 at 3:54 am
    It is really disappointing when the judiciary takes such a stance on religious matters. This judgement basically means that a poor person who does not have enough and proper clothes to wear does not have the right to worship GOD?
    Reply
  8. K
    K Narayana Pillai
    Dec 11, 2015 at 1:18 pm
    Does the court prescribe such dress codes in Churches and mosques. The standard of judiciary has fallen down to the lowest ebb.
    Reply
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