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Saree Controversy: Why Are Indian Attires Not Allowed In Some Restaurants? | Richa Ke Saath

Richa Anirudh in conversation with Anita Choudhary (Journalist), Sonal Kalra (Managing Editor- lifestyle, Hindustan Times), Malini Awasthi (Folk Singer), & Jayant Bhatt (Advocate, Supreme Court).

Aquila restaurant in Delhi recently refused entry to a woman wearing a saree. The restaurant’s staff contended that the Indian attire worn by the lady isn’t a ‘Smart Casual’. Later, the restaurant apologized after certain videos went viral over the internet. 

This incident is just a drop in the ocean. India has seen many other incidents where both men and women have faced discrimination based on their clothing style. A few years back, Quest Mall in Kolkata denied entry to a man wearing a dhoti. 

But the question that looms large is are the private restaurants allowed to set a code of conduct wherein, there is discrimination based on attire? 

The video clip of the restaurant staff stating that the Indian attire ‘saree is not a smart casual’ went viral.

On Wednesday, a statement was issued by the restaurant: “At Aquila, we believe in honoring our Indian community and have always welcomed our guests in all dress codes from modern to traditional. To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on sarees not being a part of our smart casual dress code, our whole team apologizes for the same.”

The restaurant also claimed that the woman slapped their staff member whereas Anita Choudhary who wasn’t allowed to enter the restaurant said that she didn’t slap the staff but she removed his mask. 

“I asked him to speak loudly so that everyone could hear that saree, an Indian attire is ‘not a smart casual’ and hence it can’t be worn to that restaurant. I was hurt.” Anita Choudhary

Other panelists Malini Awasthi and Sonal Kalra said that saree is not just an attire but a utility.

They further said that it is an attire that can be worn at any place. It is formal, informal, and smart casual. It brings along elegance, grace, and reflects beauty.

Advocate Jayant Bhatt mentioned that in Delhi there is no such law wherein, a restaurant can prohibit a person to enter their area just because they are in saree or any other attire. According to him, the restaurant shouldn’t have done this.

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“A public interest litigation can always be filed for such kind of discrimination.” Advocate Jayant Bhatt

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