Authorities say it is to maintain discipline

Four girls of Adarsh Women’s College, Bhiwani were fined Rs. 100 each on Friday for defying a 40-year-old dress code of the college that bans wearing T-shirts.

The college authorities have justified the action saying the fine had been imposed to maintain discipline, although a section of the students and faculty are unhappy.

Principal Alka Sharma told reporters, “The management has implemented a dress code for students and staff since 1970. The girls must wear white salwar kameez every Monday and any colour salwar kameez the rest of the days. The women staff must come dressed in saris, while formal trousers and shirt is the dress code for the male staff. With the changing times, we have allowed the girls to wear jeans paired with long kurtas, but these girls were wearing T-shirts.”

“Another reason for the ban is to maintain the decorum of the college. Every child should look the same, irrespective of which class he/she belongs, and through this nobody will have superiority or inferiority complex. Considering all these things, all girls should come in Indian dress and should not wear jeans and T-shirts as it attracts men,” said Ms. Sharma.

Though the incident has generated outrage among liberal women’s organisations, dress codes in colleges and fining students for violations is not uncommon even in metropolitan cities. Even well-known colleges are known to impose restrictions on wearing sleeveless tops or capris to classes.

President of the Haryana Janwadi Mahila Samiti Jagmati Sangwan told The Hindu, “Dress codes are not a solution to eve teasing and crimes against women. Girls from poor families or dalits are hardly seen in jeans, and yet are victims of gang rapes in Haryana. Unless the social mindset, which discriminates against women, changes, such cosmetic measures will not help much.”