Dress code in temples: Women’s Federation moves court

Madurai: The Southern Districts Women’s Federation today moved the Madras High court bench here against a single judge’s order imposing a dress code for worshippers visiting temples in Tamil Nadu.

Petitioner Sarika, a Federation member, submitted that if the order was implemented, the women’s right to worship would be affected and violated. The restriction in the form of dress code was prima facie against the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution, she said.

Temples are public places visited by persons of diverse cultures and prescribing dress code was violative of customary practises, she contended.

Besides, the Tamil Nadu temple Entry Authorisation Act also says that no person shall enter any temple premises unless they have bathed and wears clothes of such materials and in such a manner as is customary in such temples, Sarika said.

Hence, there was no need for a dress code from the court, she said.

The Madras High Court bench here had on December 1 directed the state government and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department to implement dress code for devotees coming to offer worship in temples to enhance spiritual ambience.

Disposing of a petition, Justice S Vaidyanathan had said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate.”

“The department should consider implementing the dress code as follows: for men dhoti or pyjamas with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and for women saree or half saree with blouse, churidhars with upper cloth, for children any fully covered dress,” the judge had said, adding, it should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016.