Saturday, July 26, 2014

Madras Lower court lawyers need not wear gowns

Lower court lawyers need not wear gowns
Manish Raj,TNN | Jul 26, 2014, 02.23 AM IST

CHENNAI: Here's some good news for lawyers. The Bar Council of India has said that lawyers practising in subordinate courts need not wear the long black gown or coat while arguing their cases.

This relief, which would give lawyers respite from the sweltering heat, conveyed to the Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Lawyers (TNFWL), in response to a representation seeking relaxation of dress code for advocates during summer. The Bar Council of India letter dated July 16, however, said advocates practising in high courts and the Supreme Court cannot avail themselves of the dress rule relaxation.

K Santhakumari, president of Tamil Nadu Federation of Women's Lawyers, wrote a letter to the BCI on June 2, seeking exemption for advocates from wearing gowns during the summer, keeping in mind the heat.

"On an average the temperature touches 40 degree Celcius from April to June. As such the lawyers in Tamil Nadu are finding it extremely difficult to wear the coat and gown during summer." Also, labour, criminal and family courts did not have summer vacation. Despite finding it difficult to wear coats and gown in the searing heat, the lawyers had to follow the dress code prescribed by the bar council, Santhakumari said.

She also referred to the exemption given to advocates in Delhi and Punjab from wearing gowns during summer months (from April to June). A similar directive could be issued for Tamil Nadu as well. "This will not only ease the difficulty but also increase the efficiency of the Bar," she said.

(K Santhakumari, president of Tamil Nadu Federation of Women's Lawyers)

Replying to it, the council said that as per Rule III of the Rules of the Bar Council of India "wearing of advocate's gown shall be optional except when appearing in the Supreme Court or in High courts."

Further, as per Rule IV, "except in Supreme Court and high courts during summer, wearing of black coat is not mandatory."

It then directed the secretary of bar council of Tamil Nadu to circulate the rules among various Bar associations in the state to "remove the confusion or doubts."

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