Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi had filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Bar Council of India to amend its rules to exempt Advocates from wearing black coats and gowns during the summer months.
He also sought directions to the Bar Council of each state to amend their rules and determine the months of summer for that particular state during which the black coats and gowns can be exempted depending on the temperature and humidity.
Citing the example of the Apex Court of the United Kingdom which has made relaxation in their dress code, the petitioner emphasized the importance of changes in the system to address the existing problems failing which these may become a burden
According to the petitioner, working and moving between the District Courts, the High Courts and the Supreme Court wearing a coat and a gown in torrid summer heat becomes unbearable, and taking them off and carrying along is not always feasible due to important files and other items also being held in hands.
In addition, the petitioner requested that not all advocates who are practising at the High Court and the Supreme Court are opulent enough to be able to afford a cool air-conditioned mode of travelling and wearing a black coat and gown in the summer months further aggravates the effect of heat.
The petitioner submitted that uncomfortable clothing leads to reduced productivity due to discomfort and uneasiness and walking on the court premises, wearing a black coat and gown in the unbearable hot heat causes frustration and vexation, which manifests as annoying behaviour.
The plea further added that coats and blazers need to be washed or dry-cleaned regularly because of continuous perspiration due to heat, which in turn imposes an unnecessary economic burden on the advocates.