A sitting judge of the Madras High Court, a senior advocate practising in the same court and a lawyer from Madurai were on Friday denied entry into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Club, venue of a book release function, in Chennai for having come in ‘dhoti.’
Confirming the news over phone, Justice D. Hariparanthaman wondered how a club could prescribe a dress code even for public functions. “The British rulers prescribed dress codes in the clubs started by them. It is very unfortunate that even after Independence, the same dress code is continued in the present clubs and our traditional Indian dress is prohibited,” he said.
The judge was invited for the release of the book ‘Legal Fraternity Embraced Me’ penned by T.S. Arunachalam, former Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. The invitation stated that former Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court P. R. Gokulakrishnan would release the book and former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court V. Ratnam would receive the first copy.
“It had no mention about any dress code but for stating that the function would be held on the TNCA club premises at 5.30 p.m. Therefore, I went there in my official car at 5.25 p.m. and got shocked when the club staff refused to allow me inside because I was wearing a ‘veshti.’ I tried to reason out that I had not come to attend a private function of the club. Yet, I was turned away,” he added.
Stating that senior advocate R. Gandhi and Madurai-based lawyer G.R. Swaminathan were also not allowed inside the club for the same reason, he said: “This only reminds me of the treatment meted out even to a legendry figure like former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer, who was denied entry in the 1980s into the Gymkhana Club. Then, he wrote a note of protest in the guest book.”