Should Women Lawyers Allowed Light-wear?

May 27, 2023

Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women's clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.” - Anatole France (1844-1924), French poet, journalist and novelist.

Now women are interested in what they are wearing – especially in their working environment as reflected in the following report published in The Hindu on May 22, 2023 and excerpted below.

Over 100 women judges in Kerala seek permission to wear churidar in courts

Dress code for judicial officers (in Kerala) that came into effect on October 1, 1970 specifies that women shall wear regional dress of subdued colour.

Forced to sit in stifling and crowded courtrooms for hours together even during summer months, wearing saree, a white collar band and a black gown thrown over it, over 100 women judicial officers of Kerala are seeking to modify their more than a half-century-old dress code.

The dress code for the judicial officers of Kerala, which came into effect on October 1, 1970, specifies that women shall wear the regional dress of subdued colour, white stiff or soft collar bands with a Barrister’s or Bachelor of Law’s gown. Men shall wear black open-collar coats, white shirts, and white stiff or soft-collar bands with a Barrister’s or Bachelor of Law’s gown.

Working in poorly ventilated chambers and packed court halls during summer months when the mercury touches nearly 40 0 Celsius is taking a toll on the health of women. Wearing sarees in hot and humid conditions is highly uncomfortable and distressing. Women shall be permitted to wear churidars of subdued colours. It’s high time that the dress code introduced 53 years ago is modified, said a few officers.

The women officers have approached the Registry of the Kerala High Court seeking permission to wear churidar in court halls.

The Kerala officers pointed out that the High Court of Telangana had recently modified the dress code allowing women to wear salwar/churidar/long skirts/trousers besides sarees. The Telangana court had also noted that the dress code of the officers should be in keeping with the dignity of their office, they pointed out.

A woman officer said it was extremely tiring and suffocating to sit in the poorly ventilated and crowded court halls during the summer months. Barring the ones in newly constructed buildings, most of the courtrooms lacked proper ventilation or air conditioners.

A woman officer said that frequent power disruptions and the absence of power backup systems worsened the situation during summer.

The Kerala High Court will soon decide on the submission made by the women officers, High Court sources said.

Meanwhile, the subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response, subject to a limit of 2000 characters, is welcome in the format given below (Pl scroll down a bit).


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Sun, May 28 2023

    When in Rome, do what the Romans do.

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