The Bar Council of India (BCI) has apprised the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court that it has constituted a five-member committee to have detailed deliberations with the bar and the judiciary on the demand to redetermine the dress code of lawyers viz black coat, gown and band.
“The issue relates to detailed deliberations with stakeholders, including senior members of the bar and the judiciary, before the issue can be decided,” the BCI said in the resolution of August 2021.
Hearing a PIL on July 16, 2021, seeking ban on lawyer’s present dress code of black coat and robes, a bench of Justice DK Upadhyay and Justice AK Srivastava Ist had issued notice to the BCI , the central government and HC administration to file their responses. Filing the PIL, advocate Ashok Pandey challenged the provisions of chapter IV of the BCI Rules 1975 alleging that the same are ultra – vires to the Constitution of India, violating the provisions of its articles 14, 21 and 25.
The petitioner has demanded from the court that it should direct the BCI to frame fresh rules for prescribing new dress code for lawyers in view of climatic conditions of the country.
The PIL also seeks quashing of the circular framed by the HC administration which mandates wearing of black robes for appearance before the HC. To this plea, the BCI resolution responded saying, “ At the time of framing of rules and neither today till date has it been given this kind of an interpretation”.
The petitioner has also said, “Wearing of white sari and salwar-kammej is symbol of widow ladies as per the Hindu culture and tradition and so there is no application of mind on the part of BCI while prescribing the present dress code for lawyers in the country.” The black robes prescribed by the BCI and the High Court administration is unreasonable, unjust and improper and so violative of fundamental right of lawyers guaranteed under articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution, pleaded the petitioner.