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‘Cannot impose dress code on teachers'

Ananya Dutta

KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Friday ruled that there is no legal provision by which schools can impose a dress code on teachers and that such restrictions impinge on their personal freedom.

The ruling came on a petition filed by seven teachers of Singur Golap Mohini Mullick Girls High School in Hooghly district who had been served a notice by the school's Managing Committee insisting that they wear white saris on the campus, said Ekramul Bari, the advocate on behalf of the teachers.

“The teachers had filed the case in December 2008 after they received the notice. The school management committee had also cautioned them that they will not be able to enter the premises unless they follow the dress code,” Mr. Bari added.

No provision

Citing that no provision of the West Bengal Secondary Education Act of 1950 allowed for any restrictions on the attire of teachers, Justice Jayanta Kumar Biswas ruled that forcing a dress code was in violation of their fundamental rights and could not be a condition for service.

The school authorities had cited a 75-year-old tradition of teachers dressing in white saris to be the reason for the order. The teachers had earlier appealed to the State Department of School Education on the matter before filing the petition in the High Court, Mr. Bari added.

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