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Advocate urges Bar Council of India to issue directions regarding exemption in court dress code during summers

After the Supreme Court dismissed his plea seeking exemption for Advocates from wearing black coats and gowns in summer, a lawyer has knocked on the doors of the Bar Council of India (BCI) for relief.

On July 25, an Apex Court Bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V. Ramasubramanian had directed Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi to approach the Bar Council of India (BCI) regarding his grievance.

Appearing for the petitioner before the Supreme Court, Senior Advocate Vikas Singh had contended that the Advocate’s dress code in the country was not suitable for Indian climate. The plea sought directions to the Bar Council of India to exempt Advocates from wearing black coats and gowns during the summer season.

Vikas Singh, who is also President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said that the Advocates’ dress code, which includes black blazers along with gowns, made the heat even worse.

He said since black was the most heat absorbent colour, wearing black clothes during hot and humid climates resulted in perspiration and dehydration, which further lead to irritable conduct. The plea further said that countries like the United Kingdom, which inspired the present dress code, have themselves made amendments to the dress codes of their Advocates and Judges.

As per the petition, black dress was never in practice for lawyers but following the issuance of a royal order due to the death of King Charles II, the same was made compulsory as a symbol of mourning to the king. “Adopting the same tradition of western mourning symbol shows that we are still living under an inferiority complex under British superiority,” said the petitioner.

He also said that wearing warm clothes in high temperature affected the work efficiency of lawyers and judges, which affected the quality of justice. The rise in pendency of cases was due to adjournment of cases because of intolerant climate, added the petitioner.

The Judges and Advocates could barely attend court proceedings due to the hot and humid weather conditions. Therefore, a new dress code for Advocates should be designed as per the climatic conditions in India. The petition further sought directions from the Court to states across the country to make changes in dress codes of all Union and State services and other professions, where dress codes need to be followed compulsorily.

The PIL was dismissed in the Supreme Court as withdrawn.

Case Title: Shailendra Mani Tripathi vs Bar Council of India & Ors

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