Advocate moves Allahabad High Court against its circular mandating black gowns, coat

The advocate is also the president of the Hindu Personal Law Board and chairman of Global Human Rights Organizations.

A PIL has been filed in the Allahabad High Court to challenge the circular issued by the High Court through which black gowns/coats were made mandatory for lawyers appearing before it. The petitioner, Ashok Pandey, further sought a direction for the Bar Council of India to frame rules prescribing dress code for advocates considering the weather in the country.    

Moreover, the petitioner has moved the court with rather unique prayer of prohibiting judges of all courts, tribunals, authorities, or any other person to wear the dress code prescribed for advocates by the BCI rules, 1975 and declare the provisions contained in chapter IV of the BCI rules, 1975 i.e. rules for dress-code for advocates as ultra-vires to the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution and also against the spirit of provisions contained u/s 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961 

The petitioner is an advocate, who is also the president of Hindu Personal Law Board and chairman of Global Human Rights Organizations.

The petitioner states that India is a tropical country having high temperature for a whole year and asking an advocate to wear a coat, gown, and necktie cannot be said to be a proper dress for a whole year and not as per the intention of the legislature which enacted the Advocates Act and provided for determination of dress as per the climatic condition. Further compelling the advocates to wear gowns in crunching heat violates the fundamental rights of the advocates. 

It is further stated that the petitioner follows Sanatana Dharma and is having objection in wearing the band for its reason being a symbol of Christianity and being worn by church priests. He further states that this system was first adopted by barristers in England and extended to advocates in India.

The petitioner also states his personal experience when he was appearing before the Lucknow bench of Justice Rituraj Awasthi and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh at Allahabad High Court who asked him to wear black coat otherwise his case will be dismissed. The petitioner, however, showed them the BCI circular about the exemption in dress code due to summer, upon several requests of hearing or adjournment the bench denied it and the petitioner had to wear some other advocates court.   The petitioner also states that “wearing white sari/ salwar kameej is symbol of widow ladies as per the Hindu Culture and tradition, so there is no application of mind on the part of BCB (i.e. Bar Council of Bharat) while making the rule impugned.”

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