Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka says the circular issued by the Public Administration Ministry imposing a dress code on state sector employees is in violation of the Constitution and is irrational and arbitrary.
HRCSL in a letter to the Secretary of Public Administration notes the circular titled ‘Ensuring Security in the Office Premises of the Government’ fails to explain the rational link between prohibited dress form and breaches of national security and contains unclear clauses such as the ‘additional item’ that maybe worn in keeping with cultural or religious practises.
HRCSL Chairman Dr. Deepika Udagama goes on to note the circular has also left female staffers heavily affected by the restrictions imposed by the circular on the dress code as opposed to male officers who anyway wear the shirt and trouser or the National dress.
While questioning the overarching public need for the circular in question, HRCSL notes the circular is in violation of the prohibition of sex-based discrimination under Article 12 (2) of the Constitution -“No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds :” – as it impacts the right of women to choose their preferred mode of dress – particularly women of minority communities
Dr. Udugama in the letter has asked the circular be withdrawn with immediate effect and lawful and effective measures are taken to ensure security for all.