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Mumbai College bans Tshirt and Jeans

Acharya & Marathe College in Chembur sparked controversy among its student body when it implemented a new dress code, forbidding jeans and T-shirts on campus. This decision came shortly after the Bombay High Court dismissed a plea challenging the college’s previous dress code that prohibited religious attire such as hijabs and other identifiers.

The college’s notice, dated June 27 and signed by Principal Dr. Vidyagauri Lele, outlines the new guidelines. It specifies that torn jeans, T-shirts, revealing dresses, and jerseys are not permitted. Instead, students are expected to dress formally and decently, either in half or full shirts paired with trousers. The notice also dictates that girls can wear any Indian or western outfit but must not wear attire that displays religious or cultural distinctions. Religious items like nakabs, hijabs, burkhas, stoles, caps, or badges must be removed in designated common rooms before students can move about the campus.

Criticism of the dress code has been vocal. Ateeque Khan from the Govandi Citizens Association expressed concerns that the ban on jeans and T-shirts, commonly worn attire regardless of religion or gender, seems unnecessary and impractical. He highlighted that the college had previously faced backlash for banning hijabs and other religious attire.

In defense, Dr. Lele stated that the college aims to prepare students for the corporate world by promoting a dress code that reflects decency and professionalism. She emphasized that the dress code was communicated to students during admissions and questioned the sudden objections raised.

The college’s stance on enforcing a dress code aligns with its broader disciplinary measures, citing instances of what it deems indecent behavior on campus. Previously, the college enforced a uniform for junior college students, which also included a ban on hijabs, leading to a legal challenge that was ultimately dismissed by the High Court.Despite the administration’s rationale of preparing students for professional settings, the new dress code has reignited debates over individual expression and religious freedom within educational institutions.

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