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Ban the dhoti? Ban the club! TN passes traditional attire Bill

Chennai, Aug 6 (PTI): The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Wednesday passed a Bill seeking to remove the ban on wearing the dhoti and other Indian traditional attire imposed by recreational clubs and others.

Introduced by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, in the backdrop of the recent controversy triggered by denial of entry to a dhoti-clad Madras High Court Judge into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club here, the Bill provides for cancellation of licence and punishment of one year’s imprisonment for any violation of the legislation.

The Tamil Nadu Entry into Public Places (Removal of restriction of dress) Act, 2014, was declared passed by voice vote by Speaker P. Dhanapal and comes into force immediately.

The Bill states that no recreation club, association, trust, company or society shall make any rule, regulation or bye-law, imposing restriction on entry to any person wearing a 'veshti' (dhoti) reflecting Indian culture or any other Indian traditional dress into any public place under its control or management.

Any violation of the Act would lead to cancellation of the licence given and punishment of one-year imprisonment and an additional penalty of Rs 25,000.

According to the statement of reasons and objects of the Bill, it was brought to the notice of the government that some clubs were denying entry to persons wearing dhoti reflecting Tamil culture into public places under their control on the ground that they are not wearing dress in keeping with Western culture and it was imperative in that context to introduce and pass the bill in the current session.

Jayalalithaa had earlier assured the House that an act to remove the dhoti ban would be brought in the current session itself after Opposition parties raised the issue of the dhoti-clad judge being denied entry into the club for attending a book release function on July 11.

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