In a significant judgment, the Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday prescribed a dress code for men, women and even children wanting to visit temples maintained by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department across the State.
Justice S. Vaidyanathan ordered that from January 1 men should wear a “dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts” to temples and women should wear “a sari or a half sari or churidhar with upper cloth.” Children could wear “any fully covered dress.”
He directed the HR and CE Commissioner to issue a circular to all temples under his jurisdiction to strictly adhere to the dress code.
However, temples where men were prohibited from wearing an upper cloth could continue the practice, he clarified.
The judge also said that his order should be followed as an interim measure till the State government takes a policy decision as expeditiously as possible to prescribe a similar dress code in order to enhance the spiritual ambience among devotees.
“The temples which are not coming within the purview of the Government shall enforce their own dress code… Police shall not allow devotees inside any Hindu Temple of Tamil Nadu who wear dresses other than the one prescribed,” the judge ordered.
Observing that the object of imposing dress code was to restrict devotees who visit temple in “improper clothing,” the judge said that all religions, including Christianity and Islam, prescribe a decent, neat and disciplined dress code for worshipping their respective Gods.