GUWAHATI: In a recent development, the Gauhati High Court upheld its decision to remove lawyer Bijen Mahajan from the court premises last year for violating the dress code by wearing jeans during a pre-arrest bail application. The court rejected Mahajan's plea for modifications to a January 27, 2023, order, asserting that jeans were not explicitly excluded under Gauhati High Court rules.
Mahajan's attempt to challenge the court's stance was based on the argument that jeans were not explicitly prohibited according to the Gauhati High Court rules. However, the Bar Council of India (BCI) guidelines do exclude jeans from acceptable attire for legal professionals.
The court, however, maintained its stance on upholding a strict dress code within the court premises. In a statement, the court questioned the potential slippery slope, stating, "If jeans can be worn in court, then the applicant may next ask why he shall not be permitted to appear in court in 'torn' jeans, 'faded' jeans, jeans with 'printed patches,' which are considered to be fashionable, or why he should not be allowed to appear in black track pant, or black pajamas merely because the Gauhati High Court Rules have not specifically excluded those."
Emphasizing the gravity of the situation, the court expressed the genuineness of Mahajan's expression of regret in the application. It clarified that the removal of Mahajan from the court premises did not violate his legal or fundamental right to an audience. The court highlighted that the enforcement of the advocate's dress code within the court campus falls within the purview of every presiding judicial officer, including the Judge of the High Court.
The Gauhati High Court dismissed Mahajan's application, reiterating its commitment to upholding decorum through the enforcement of a strict dress code within the court premises. The decision underscores the importance placed on maintaining a professional and respectful environment within the judicial system, emphasizing the responsibility of legal professionals to adhere to established norms.