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Change ‘colonial’ dress code in courts, university convocations, demands Margaret Alva

Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva has launched a campaign against dress codes in university convocations and Indian courts by calling them colonial vestiges.

According to a report published in India Today, Alva refused to wear the “heavy” hat and black gown at the convocation of Rajasthan Technical University, Kota, on Friday and criticised the dress code as “British colonial legacy” that was not suited to Indian climatic conditions and culture.

On Thursday, the governor had done the same at the convocation of VardahmanMahaveer Open University in Kota. Last month at National Law University, Jodhpur, Alva had come down heavily on the dress code in the courts and expressions like “My Lord”.

“Why do we continue with the archaic British practice of addressing judges as ‘My Lord’ or ‘Lordship’? Should we then address women judges as My Lady,” she had said.
“To make matters worse colonial vestiges, in matters of dress code in courts, continue, the Governor added.

Interestingly, Alva, a law graduate, was a professional lawyer during her initial years.

“I as chancellor have stopped wearing headgear at convocations. We should opt for something based on our traditions, suited to our climate. The bench and the bar need to do the same,” she said. She reiterated her sentiments on Friday when she decided not to wear the headgear and the gown. However, Alva maintained that being autonomous bodies, universities can’t be compelled to do anything.

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