Tamil Nadu introduces bill to provide legal protection to dhoti, violators to face one-year jail term and fine

CHENNAI: In what could provide a legal protection to the dhoti, the traditional attire in Tamil Nadu, chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday introduced a bill in the state assembly, barring recreation clubs, associations, trusts, companies and societies from imposing restrictions on any person wearing the dhoti (veshti).

The bill proposes cancellation of licences to clubs and organisations violating the law. “Whoever violates the provisions shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to Rs 25,000.”

“No person, wearing a veshti reflecting Tamil culture or any other Indian traditional dress, shall be denied entry into any public place, by reason only of his dress, provided that the dress shall be worn in a decent manner,” the bill said. The denial of entry to Madras high court judge Justice D Hariparanthaman and two senior advocates into Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club at Chepauk in Chennai last month, as they were wearing dhoti, triggered a debate in the state, calling for stringent action against the clubs.

Opposition parties, including the DMK, the DMDK, the Congress, the Left parties and the PMK decried the disrespect shown by clubs towards the Tamil attire.

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