“The issue concerns detailed deliberations with stakeholders, including senior bar and judiciary officials, before the matter can be decided,” the BCI said in the August 2021 resolution.
During the hearing of a PIL on July 16, 2021, seeking a ban on the barrister’s current dress code of black coat and robes, a bench of Judge DK Upadhyay and Judge AK Srivastava Ist had notified the BCI, the central government and the administration of the HC to deposit their answers. In filing the PIL, Barrister Ashok Pandey challenged the provisions of Chapter IV of the BCI Rules 1975, alleging that these are ultra vires the Constitution of India, violating the provisions of its Articles 14, 21 and 25.
The petitioner demanded that the court order the BCI to draw up new rules to prescribe a new dress code for lawyers in view of the climatic conditions of the country.
The PIL also calls for the cancellation of the circular framed by the administration of the HC which makes it compulsory to wear black robes to appear before the HC. To this appeal, the BCI resolution responded by saying: “At the time of the making of the rules and not today until this day has such an interpretation been given”.
The petitioner also said, “Wearing of white saree and salwar-kammej is the symbol of widowed women according to Hindu culture and tradition and hence there is no application of spirit on the part of BCI while prescribing the current dress code for lawyers in the country.” The black dress prescribed by the BCI and the High Court administration is unreasonable, unjust and inappropriate and therefore contrary to the fundamental right of lawyers guaranteed by Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution, pleaded the petitioner.