Soaring Mercury makes lawyers see red over black coats

Published: 09th March 2013 11:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2013 11:53 AM   |  A+A-

The Kerala High Court on Friday issued notices to the Central government and the Bar Council of India on a petition seeking to do away with the present dress codes of advocates and bring in a new dress code suitable for the climatic conditions of the state.

Justice P R Ramachandra Menon issued the notice, while considering a petition filed by High Court lawyer Vincent Panikulangara.

The petition sought permission to appear in courts in a dignified dress which displays the identity card issued by the Bar Council of Kerala. He also sought a move to declare the present dress code illegal and unenforceable.

According to him, the temperature in Kerala is nearly 40 degree Celsius during summer. There are around 25,000 lawyers, including 5,000 women, practising in various courts in Kerala. Nearly 5,000 lawyers, including 1,000 women, practice at the High Court, which is air conditioned.

However, nearly, 20,000 lawyers practice in 80 other centres where no court room is air-conditioned, he said.

He added that in mofussil courts, power supply is erratic, making the functioning of courts strenuous, especially in the summer.

Black clothes absorb more heat causing immense inconvenience to advocates in the state, the petitioner said.

The present dress code blindly follows the British colonial heritage, despite six decades of independence. The difficulties during the rainy season are equally tough. Even in Britain, the dress is not accepted in all courts, since 2008.

The present dress code does not make any positive contribution to justice delivery, but reduces the functional potential of lawyers, he submitted.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a Commission of Inquiry under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, to inquire into and suggest appropriate dress codes for advocates.


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