A public sector bank was forced to withdraw the dress code circular for its employees for Navratri celebrations following strong protests by the bank employees’ union and condemnation on social media.
A circular titled “Navratri Celebrations and Dress Code” was issued by AR Raghavendra, general manager, digitization department of Union Bank of India’s central office in Mumbai.
Enforcing a dress-code for all its workers for Navratri between October 7-15, the circular also imposed a fine of Rs 200 for non-compliance with the rules.
Released on October 1, it also mandated a daily group photo of all employees. The bank said in its list of instructions that the colors for the nine-day festivities ranged from yellow, green, orange, white, royal blue, pink, purple, grey, red. The base color will be considered in the check shirt.
The employees’ federation argued that “issuance of official instructions for celebrating a religious festival in the office, fixing the dress code and imposing fine is not a regular official matter of the digitization department”.
The federation impressed upon the bank that the order was against the spirit of secularism.
“Navratri is a religious festival and it should be celebrated and celebrated privately and not officially in a public sector bank which holds high regard for a secular fabric of our society. The celebration of any festival is a Voluntary event in which there is no place for any instruction. / Coercion to talk of imposition of any penalty,” All India Union Bank Employees Federation said in a letter to Union Bank of India.
It further said that “this has never happened in the 100-year history of the bank”.