High Court stays temple dress code order

The Madras High court stayed the dress code order for temples in the state, contending that all devotees could not be compelled to wear dresses prescribed by a single judge
High Court stays temple dress code order
Devotees at the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore


In a big but temporary reprieve for temple goers, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Monday stayed the dress code order of a single judge from the same seat until Jan 18. 
The single judge had on November 26, last year, directed the State Government to implement a dress code for men, women and even children wanting to enter temples run by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) Department from January 1, this year. 
A division bench of the Madras High Court in Madurai, comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and N Kirubakaran, granted the interim stay on a writ appeal moved by the State Government. Advocate General AL Somayaji contended that devotees and others can’t be forced to wear only those dresses prescribed by the single judge.
Moreover, there could be a conflict between the single judge’s dress code and the Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act 1947, he said. The act per se lays down several restrictions or entry into temples besides permitting individual temple managements to prescribe dress code as per their customs and traditions. 
Justice S Vaidyanathan passed the order while disposing of a writ petition seeking to hold Bharathanatyam and Gramiya Aadal Paadal during a temple festival at Akkiyampatti Village in Trichy on November 21 and 22.  
The single judge while granting permission for the same also included a condition that the devotees and other visitors should adhere to a dress code. 
This, he said was to enhance the spiritual ambience among devotees. On November 26 while disposing of the main writ petition, the Judge, suo motu, impleaded the Secretary, Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department, also as a respondent to the case and directed him to implement the dress code prescribed by him in all temples from Jan 1.

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