In Tamil Nadu, Women Cannot Take Driving Test If They're Wearing Jeans Or Sleeveless Tops

Women applicants were barred from taking driving test because they were dressed 'inappropriately'.

You might have definitely come across dress codes and diktats in colleges and universities across India. But have you ever heard of a ‘dress code’ to take a driving test?

In Tamil Nadu,  it seems that knowing how to drive isn’t enough to get a driving licence. According to reports, women applicants were barred from taking driving test because they were dressed ‘inappropriately’. One of the applicants who was wearing jeans and a sleeveless top was told to wear salwar kameez by an RTO official. In another case, a college student was turned away by the same official who had objected to her wearing shirt and a capri. In both the cases, the applicants had to reappear for the test after going back home and changing their attire, reports The Times of India.

As per law, there is no dress code that one needs to follow in order to take a driving test. However, the officials justified their action but refused to call it ‘moral policing’

“Different kinds of people will come to RTO daily. In order to avoid any untoward incident the applicants are advised to come in proper dress. Men who are in lungi, shorts are asked to come in proper attire,” the official told IANS.

The report adds that such incidents are not new in the city RTOs  and a similar complaint was reported in 2018.

In June, Tamil Nadu government introduced a dress code to be followed by the employees of the Secretariat. The dress code issued by the Chief Secretary directed employees to avoid casual attire and wear clothes that reflect Indian and Tamil culture. For women, it was saree/salwar kameez/churidaar with dupatta and for men, it was shirts with formal pants/veshti (dhoti) or any other Indian traditional dress while they are on government duty.

In September 2017, medical colleges in Tamil Nadu instructed their students not to wear leggings, jeans and ‘tight fitting’ clothes in their campus. The Director of Medical Education had then instructed medical colleges to follow only formal dress code in the classes. However, no circular was issued.