Amidst a raging debate over whether private clubs can deny entry to those who do not conform to their dress regulations, a teacher of law says there might have been a Constitutional bar on discrimination based on the dress one wears, but for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel dismissing the idea as something unnecessary in post-colonial India.
Abhishek Sudhir, Assistant Professor & Assistant Director, Centre for Public Law and Jurisprudence, Jindal Global Law School, says that during the debate in the Constituent Assembly on fundamental rights, a member, Rohini Kumar Chaudhary, moved an amendment during the debate on fundamental rights to add the words “or, of dress worn by any nationality”, to the clause that barred discrimination in public places based on race, religion, caste or sex.
According to Mr. Sudhir, Chaudhary felt it was necessary as “even today, when we are the threshold of independence, there are hotels which do not welcome people dressed in Indian style.”
Sardar Patel, however, dismissed Mr. Chaudhary’s concerns, saying, “There is no bar against any particular kind of dress.” He noted that he went everywhere from the Viceroy’s house to the abode of the humblest peasant wearing his dhoti. Patel was concerned that if a provision regarding dress was included in our fundamental rights, the world might conclude that “we do not even know how to treat our nationals.” As all foreigners were leaving, there would be “no discrimination now on account of dress,” he said.