It was deja vu for the duty manager at Mumbai international airport, when the security outside the civic body’s office in Fort didn’t allow him inside the head office for “not dressing decently”
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refused entry to a man wearing shorts for the second time in a month, citing reasons that women felt uncomfortable in the presence of a man wearing shorts. The same incident had occurred earlier this month, on August 7.
This is the second time this month that Carrasco has gone to the BMC office in shorts and has been refused entry
Kalbadevi resident Bernard Carrasco showed up at the BMC headquarters in Fort in the afternoon yesterday, to file an RTI application. Carrasco is trying to get Cavell Street, where he lives, converted to a no-parking zone and also wishes to find out whether some tin shed shops that have cropped up in his area are encroaching upon public land.
When he went to the civic headquarters in a t-shirt and three-fourth pants, the female security guard on duty didn’t object or stop him. However, a few steps ahead, the male security guard prevented him from entering.
When asked why he was being stopped, the guard told him: “Women employees are not comfortable in presence of men in such clothes. We have orders from top officials to not allow anyone who has not dressed decently.”
At that very moment, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte happened to come out and was leaving the premises. When Carrasco stopped him and apprised him of the situation, Kunte, claims Carrasco, didn’t say anything.
“He just asked me what work I had come for. I told him I had come to file an RTI application. So he (Kunte) took my application and went away. They hadn’t allowed me inside last time for the same reason.
Why does the BMC want to be so old-school? I am not wearing any clothes that inconvenience female employees. There have been so many instances where people have walked in without making an entry in the register, or without checking the bags. The guards let those people go; but I am stopped for my attire,” protested the 36-year-old.
Carrasco further said that he often went to the ward office in his area and that he had never been disallowed entry there due to these clothes. He added that since there is no such official rule or law prohibiting certain types of clothes, the civic body had no grounds to ban his entry.
The other side
The security department maintained that, although there is no official written rule about clothes, one should “maintain decorum while entering a government office”. Officials also said Carrasco’s case isn’t the only one; several others have been stopped at the gate.
Assistant Security Officer Kailash Supe, the officer in charge of security, said, “We have got several complaints from the women employees for allowing such people to enter the premises, as they are not comfortable around such men. We have been held responsible for letting them in, and, as we have orders from our top officials and it is a tradition of the office to not allow such indecency to take place, we do not allow such clothes.”
S S Shinde (in pic), the in-charge of Security department and joint municipal commissioner, told mid-day, “Even if there is no written rule or circular, one should be dressed decently when entering a public office. Hence, the Security department doesn’t allow anyone who is in shorts.”