Chennai: Three days after a dress code for devotees visiting temples across Tamil Nadu came into force, the state government on Monday challenged the Madras High Court order banning jeans and shorts as "inappropriate" for spiritual worship.
In its appeal, the state government said the court order is not in consonance with the existing Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947 which permits each temple to frame its own dress code according to local customs, as per a report published in NDTV.
In December 2015, the Madras High Court had ordered temple authorities in Tamil Nadu to refuse entry to anyone wearing jeans, bermuda shorts, skirts, short-sleeves or tight leggings to "enhance spiritual ambiance".
Though some temples have begun denying entry to those who do not comply with the new dress code, many officials say it is hard to implement in the long run for want of manpower. Some temples are also toying with the idea of renting formal clothing to help devotees.
The dress code applies to both locals and foreigners visiting the temples, some of which are major tourist attractions.
According to a AFP report, Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami temple alone receives more than four million visitors each year.
Several Hindu temples and other religious sites in India restrict devotees from entering the premises on pretext of dress, eating habits -- some do not allow non-vegetarians to enter -- as well gender.
In Mumbai a women`s rights group is fighting a legal battle to overturn a four-year ban on entry of women to Haji Ali Dargah, a Muslim shrine, where menstruation was cited as the reason for the restriction.
While in urban centres such as New Delhi and Mumbai many people, especially men, wear western clothes, in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala traditional garments are more popular.
(With Agency inputs)