No Black Gowns and Neck Bands While You Participate in the Protests: Madras High Court

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An order has been passed by the Madras High court on December 23’ 2020, which restrains advocates to wear their black gown/uniform while they participate in any sort of demonstrations, or strikes.

A bench consisting of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice Pugalendhi passed the order today. In the present case, the petition was moved by the Advocate B. Ramkumar Adityan to the Madras High Court, while observing that usually, when Advocates are supposed to dress properly in the Court during court proceedings, they usually fail to do so.

The petition which has been filed reads as follows,

“Even, few of the Female Public Prosecutors in subordinate courts also do not attend court in uniform which casts a bad impression and diminishes the majesty of the law.”

It further read as,

“Dress code is a symbol of the dignity, honor, wisdom, and justice and these are the values which any Advocate has to keep up with. Every Advocate needs to maintain the grace and the dignity of the profession. One cannot wear a “T” shirt and a “Jean” and come to Court, the Temple of Justice.”

The petition had been filed through Advocate G. Sureshkumar and as presented by Advocate S. Krishan, in the court, today.

The petitioner approached the court while seeking an order which would restrain the lawyers from wearing neckbands and their black gowns while participating in any kind of strikes, boycott, or agitations/demonstrations.

According to the concern raised, advocates participating in strikes, boycotts of courts, and road agitations wear their gowns and neckband, even though such are Antithesis of their Obligations under the Advocates’ Act of 1961. Therefore, the issue raised here was a serious one and should be addressed and avoided at all costs.

In the view of the above observations, the petitioner while seeking redressal urged the court to direct the Bar Council of India and the State Bar Council, to ensure that proper attire is maintained by the Advocates during the Court proceedings and to make sure that lawyers do not wear their advocate’s band and black gown while participating in any strike, boycotts or demonstration.

The Madurai Bench, therefore, passed an order which directs the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to direct the advocates while addressing the proper attire issue and to not wear black gowns and neckbands during any kind of protests, in the future.


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