Judicial officers for summer-friendly dress code in courts

With the State in the grip of a heatwave, a few judicial officers of the subordinate courts have called for modifying their dress code.

Going by the dress code, male judges need to wear white full sleeve shirt, white band, black coat, and grey or white trouser and gown in courtrooms. All lady judicial officers should wear white/black, full/half sleeved, blouse/shirt, saris with white/ black/ combination, white collar (stiff/soft), white band, and full-sleeve black coat.

A senior officer said that being in the courtroom during summer is “a horrid and stuffy experience”.

Poor infrastructure

“Frequent power failure and lack of infrastructure in many poorly-ventilated courtrooms make life miserable for the judges of lower courts during summer months,” said the judicial officer, who refused to be named. “While getting back to the chamber from the courtroom, even the blazer and the gown will be drenched in sweat. Being inside a courtroom in summer months in full uniform feels like being inside a furnace,” another officer said.

“However, advocates, who also have to wear similar dress, are free to move about. But a judicial officer will have to remain seated for long hours, which itself is a tiring experience,” he said.

A woman judge narrated it as a bothersome experience being in full uniform in crammed courtrooms during summer. The only advantage of women judicial officers is that they need not wear the coat while in the courtrooms, she said.

B.G. Hareendranath, State president of the Kerala Judicial Officers Association, said it was high time the dress code of the judicial officers was modified to suit the climatic conditions of the State.

Several countries, including Australia, had modified the dress code of judges. The gown and the band worn by the Indian judges had ecclesiastical and religious links. The band worn by the judges represented the Ten Commandments and the lost tablet of the Bible.

The courts followed the colonial dress code, which needed to be modified to suit the local climatic conditions, said Mr. Hareendranath, the senior-most district judge of the State. K. Haripal, Registrar General of the Kerala High Court, said the judicial officers need to follow the prescribed dress code. “So far, no such request has been received by the High Court. The court will take an appropriate decision if such a request is raised by judicial officers,” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 5, 2022 12:54:17 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/judicial-officers-for-summer-friendly-dress-code-in-courts/article26739160.ece