Taking grave exception to a female government official appearing before it in a multi-hued checked shirt and jeans, a Division Bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Ajay Mohan Goel of the Himachal Pradesh High Court laid down rules to govern the sartorial choice of litigants, especially government officials appearing before it..The Court described it as “appalling” that the official, a Junior Engineer, discharged her official duties clad in similar attire..“We notice that respondent No.6, who has appeared in person and is a Junior Engineer is not appropriately dressed. She is wearing a multi-coloured check shirt and jeans. What is more appalling is when she informed the Court that she even discharges her official duties wearing only these kinds of dresses.”.The Court stated in its order that Judges and Magistrates play a pivotal role in the dispensation of justice, hence they wear a specific dress prescribed by the High Court so as to maintain the dignity of the court. The Court went on to note that the same should be applicable to litigants who appear in Court..“This dress is worn compulsorily in order to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court and, therefore, we see no reason why any litigant, more particularly, Government officers and officials should be improperly or inappropriately dressed while appearing before the Court. After all being appropriately dressed only induces a seriousness of purpose and a sense of decorum which is highly conducive for the dispensation of justice..Every litigant appearing before the Court is expected to be dressed in a modest manner so as to maintain decorum.”.The High Court Bench bemoaned the fact that slackness in attire was leading to judicial indecorum and undermining the majesty of the law. It reiterated that government officials appearing before the court must be dressed in formal clothing, if not, then appropriate attire and warned them against dressing in an indiscreet manner..“..it is high time we reiterate that litigants appearing before this Court, more particularly, Government officers and officials should be dressed, if not formally at least appropriately or else they may start dressing more indiscreetly.”.It cited the example of the state of Jharkhand, which has already issued instructions on May 30, 2017 asking all its officers and other staff not to appear before the court in casual dresses. This decision was taken in response to stinging remarks made by the Jharkhand High Court recently when the Chief Secretary appeared before the court draped in a colourful printed saree. The Court not only pulled up the officers but also asked the Advocate General to communicate the observations to the Government for necessary action so that officers maintain proper dress code while they are in court..The Bench directed that a copy of its Order be sent to the Chief Secretary, government of Himachal Pradesh for appropriate action. Pursuant to that, on August 3, the government issued a directive which stated that :.While attending Hon’ble Courts specifically and office in general, all Government servant should be attired in appropriate, formal, clean, modest and decent cloths in sober colours, which should not look gaudy. Casual and party attire should be strictly avoided during appearance in Court and while attending office. The mannerism, conduct and dress of a Government servant should reflect a sense of decorum, decency, professionalism and seriousness of purpose at the work place as well as during appearance in Hon’ble Courts.Non-compliance with this directive, in both letter and spirit, would invite appropriate disciplinary action against the errant employee..This is not the first time that casual dresses have earned the displeasure of High Court judges. In March this year, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur had hauled a court reporter over the coals for coming dressed in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Prior to that, in 2011, in the same court there was a scuffle between security guards and two visitors to the court who turned up in vests and shorts. Both of them were fined Rs. 2,500. That incident led the court to prescribe a strict dress code for litigants..Read the order below.