Lawyer files plea in SC seeking relaxation of dress code during summer

The plea sought a direction to the State Bar Councils to determine 'months of prevailing summer' for each state in order to exempt the wearing of the black coat and gown.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by lawyer, Shailendra Mani Tripathi, seeking directions to amend the rules and the Advocate Act 1961 to exempt the advocates from wearing the traditional black coats and gowns in the scorching heat of the summer seasons, citing that making lawyers wear black coats in summer was unsafe.

"The dress code for advocate which has been prescribed in India is not suitable for the Indian climate. Wearing a warm coat like a blanket in summer is no less than any torture. The climate of India is full of diversity. High temperature and humid weather prevail almost throughout the year in most parts of India. Wearing warm clothes in the above type of weather affects the work efficiency, which directly affects the quality of justice," Tripathi in his petition, filed before the top court, said.

The petition sought a direction to the State Bar Councils to determine 'months of prevailing summer' for each state in order to exempt the wearing of the black coat and gown for those months.

He also sought setting up of a committee of medical experts to study how wearing warm clothes in summer affects the health and quality of work for advocates and suggest recommendations accordingly.

Tripathi thereby requested the Top Court to consider relaxing the traditional dress code for advocates across the states considering that the same may cause hardships and health issues in the extremity of the growing summer heat.

The petition highlighted that the British-origin dress code of black coats and gowns failed to take into consideration the Country's varied climatic considerations.

"The continuous absorption of heat by the black colour of the uniform causes much irritability, duress and is counterproductive for the active work profile of advocates. This, the petition states is violative of the right to safe working conditions for advocates across the country," he said in his petition filed before the apex court.

Pleading to the top court for passing appropriate directions and orders, he said, everyone has the right to work in safe conditions. Making lawyers wear heavy black coats in summer makes their working conditions unsafe and uncomfortable. This isn't just inconvenient; it violates their right to a safe workplace.

"The judicial infrastructure is very weak in rural districts and remote areas of the country. Advocates have to work under thatch in the shade of trees even under the open sky," he said in his plea.

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