Employer has a right to prescribe the format but not the type of cloth to be used in uniform.

Legal case

S. Kasturi


Chairman, Airports Authority of India/National Airports Division, New Delhi and Others

Facts of the Case:
The petitioner was appointed as a junior clerk under the Director-General of Civil Aviation, New Delhi. She was promoted as senior clerk and posted at the Regional Office, Chennai. Thereafter, the Civil Engineering Department was separated and transformed into the National Airports Authority of India. The petitioner’s post was redesigned as the Senior Office Assistant.

From the year 1994, the employee’s were directed to wear uniforms made of synthetic, silk or polyester material. Women were directed to wear sarees of same material. In August 1996, the petitioner was asked to attend office in her uniform. The petitioner neither collected her uniform saree from the stores nor did she claim any allowance in lieu of uniform. She also had not collected either of the blouse, skirt material or the shoes supplied by the respondents.

The petitioner requested the authorities for exemption from wearing the uniform prescribed and permit her to continue wearing the khadi or handloom dresses of the same shade or colour prescribed by the department. But the department refused her request and ordered her to attend the office in proper uniform.

The petitioner moved the High Court against the said order.

The Hon’ble High Court allowed the writ petition and set aside the impugned order. The High Court held that prescription of a uniform can be a reasonable order of a superior, but that does not mean that the employer can have the right to prescribe even the type of cloth material a person should wear.


Source: Labour Law Reporter, pg. no. 629, Madras High Court, June 2009


Also Check: Other Legal Aspects