Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Saturday scrapped a dress code order issued by Fazilka Deputy Commissioner Manpreet Singh Chhatwal that made wearing ‘dupattas’ to work a must for the women government staff and banned T-shirts for men during duty hours.
To maintain the “office decorum” and to “end the difference in clothing pattern between employees”, Chhatwal had Friday issued the directive that also warned of disciplinary action against those who violate the orders.
The chief minister scrapped the order, saying the imposition of a dress code in a government office did not, on the face of it, appear to be a feasible option. Other ways should be explored to ensure office decorum, he said. The CM said that the Punjab government did not have any dress code in place for its employees and hence it was not reasonable to expect staff in one district office to follow such a code.
The DC had reportedly issued the order on a written request by the employees’ union, which had sought a formal dress code as they found the casual dress unkempt.
The chief minister directed the DC to forward the employees’ union request to the state government for further action, an official spokesperson said. Any decision on the matter would be taken after due consideration on all aspects of the issue, said the spokesperson.
Davinder Kaler, president, DC Office Union, had earlier said that it was being noticed that several new joinees were attending office in casual clothes such as denim jeans and t-shirts. “Some even have tattoos on their arms, which don’t behove a government employee. We welcome the new joinees in our various departments but at the same time, I appeal to them to come out of their student life as now they are part of Punjab government. They should attend office in formal dress – trousers and shirts – rather than wearing funky jeans and T-shirts,” Kaler said.
The July 26 directive issued by the DC has also been circulated in the office of ADC(D), ADC (General), SDMs and superintendent level officers as well. “It is being directed that no male employees should come to office in T-shirts, and female staff should also not come without dupattas,” the order read.
Chhatwal was not available for comments. However, the DC, in a statement had said that such a decision was taken “to end the difference of clothing pattern” between employees. “Few employees, who cannot afford costly clothes, at times, feel bad and hence such a decision was taken after consulting with the office union. Our dress code should reflect our culture and hence we took this decision,” the statement read.
In March last year, an order had been issued banning jeans for female employees in government schools of Punjab. However, then education minister Aruna Chaudhary had later withdrawn the order and had suspended two employees who had issued it.
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