Reporters covering the Bombay High Court staged a walk out on Wednesday after its chief justice, Manjula Chellur, asked if jeans and T-shirts were appropriate clothes to wear to court. Senior legal reporters tweeted their discontent immediately, with many labelling it an attempt at moral policing.
A senior legal reporter from a national newspaper who witnessed the walkout said the chief justice noticed a reporter’s clothes and asked if it was “Bombay culture to wear jeans and T-shirts and come to cover the court.” The judge is believed to have added that reporterts need to maintain decorum. The incident took place while the divisional bench Chellur and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing the matter of the doctors’ strike in Maharashtra.
Senior legal reporter, Rosy Sequeira with the Times of India tweeted that Chellur questioned if jeans and T-shirts were a part of “Bombay Culture”.
Reporters are considering writing to the chief justice of the Supreme Court about the incident. About ten television and print journalists were present in the courtroom when the comments were made.
In 2015, a media professional, Priya Pathiyan, was not allowed to enter the court allegedly because she was wearing a sleeveless top. The Hindustan Times reported that policemen stopped Pathiyan from entering the court because of the way she was dressed. The report added that the policemen cited a notification passed by the court in 2011, which stated that people dressed indecently should not be allowed inside.
Chellur had already faced social media’s ire after she compared striking doctors to factory workers.