Order on dress code for devotees, visitors to temples stayed

Order on dress code for devotees, visitors to temples stayed

The Madras High court today stayed a single judge's order framing a dress code for devotees and all other visitors to temples under control of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department in the state.

Justices V Ramasubramanian and N Kirubakaran stayed the order while admitting an appeal filed by the HR&CE department and one G Sarika of Southern Districts Women's Federation. This is the second appeal on the issue.

The state government had earlier filed an appeal challenging the single judge’s order on several grounds, including the correctness of compelling temple goers to adhere to a dress code. It had said individual temples were free to prescribe separate dress codes according to their customs.

In her appeal, Sarika claimed the dress code was against an individual’s right to wear clothing of his or her choice. Alleging that the single judge's order was "highly discriminatory," the appellant claimed that the restrictions imposed by the judge "are against the fundamental rights, particularly of women and children".

Disposing of a petition seeking permission for cultural programmes in view of a temple festival in Tiruchirapalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan had on November 26 ordered that from January 1 onwards men would have to wear 'dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and women sari or half sari with blouse or churidhar with upper cloth' to temples. The Judge had also ordered that children could go in 'any fully-covered dress.'

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