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Madras HC expresses shock over dress code controversy, asks nation or religion is paramount

Chennai, Feb 10 (BPNS)

The Madras High Court on Thursday expressed shock over the dress code controversy erupting in certain parts of the country. The first bench of the Madras High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Munishawar Nath Bhandari asked, “What is paramount? Is it the country or religion ?”

He added, “I mean it is really shocking. Somebody is going for the hijab, somebody is going for the topi  and somebody is going for other things.”

Questioning the intention behind such things, he further asked,” Is it one country or divided by religion or by something like that. This is quite surprising.”

Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari pointed out the fact that India was a secular country and said,” What is found from the current affairs is nothing but an effort to divide the country by religions.”

The Acting Chief Justice was making the observations while hearing a batch of petitions filed by Srirangam-based activist, Rangarajan Narasimhan who wanted the court to implement a strict dress code for devotees, disallowing non –Hindus from stepping into the temples across Tamil Nadu.

The bench asked the petitioner for an illustration to show the custom of dress code followed in practice and made it clear that custom is for individual temples.

ACJ asked the petitioner how the question of putting up display boards arises if there was no uniform dress code. When the petitioner sought an order, the bench asked him to show what part of the Agamas refer to the pants and shirts.

The bench also warned that he could be barred from appearing in person before the court and directed him to use appropriate words and stay away from quarreling.

Advocate General R. Shanmugasundaram informed the court that each and every temple was following its own custom and visitors belonging to other religions are allowed only up to flag mast or ‘kodi maram’.

The bench finally allowed the petitioner to file an affidavit with illustrations on flouting of the dress code in temples.