Bangalore: The temple dress code that came into effect on January 1, 2016 in Tamil Nadu has been a matter that is highly debated. An appeal was filed against the dress code (for entering temples administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department in Tamil Nadu) in the Madurai court. The final hearing on the appeals filed by the TN government and two women’s organisations was held on Monday.
Justice V Ramasubramanian observed that “Tradition and culture keep changing over time and one generation cannot follow the practices observed by the previous generation.” The Deccan Chronicle reports that the appeals filed argued that these temples already had implemented numerous restrictions including dress codes as per the Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947. Moreover, the managements of individual temples could also prescribe specific dress codes.
When a lawyer argued in favour of imposing the dress code, Justice Ramasubramanian reportedly asked, “Why didn’t he sport a tuft as his father would have had?” However, when the lawyer argued that the dress code did not hurt anyone, Justice V Ramasubramanian is said to have asked whether he was inventing a tradition as per his wish.
The report adds that Justice V Ramasubramanian went further to ask whether they were keen to introduce the cultural and traditional practices that were followed before the British period. When the lawyer argued that the court and law had a dress code, the judge told him that the bar and court were governed by a statute that was framed by authorities during the modern period, but religious practices in temples were age-old customs that were not governed by law.