No one reported Circular on dress code inconvenienced Muslim women -J.J. Rathnasiri
Posted on June 13th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration J.J. Rathnasiri says that he has not received any complaint or report stating that Muslim women were inconvenienced owing to the Circular issued on the dress code of public servants.

The Circular in question had instructed the male public servants to wear the National dress or accepted office wear while female officers were instructed to wear Saree or Kandyan dress during office hours. The Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management later announced that the Circular was issued to ensure the security of public officers at government institutes.

Testifying before the Special Parliament Select Committee probing the Easter attacks today (13), Mr Rathnasiri said the relevant Circular was issued after discussing with the several secretaries to ministries, heads of public departments and other government officials.

Mr Rathnasiri says requests were received stating that a special measure should be taken regarding the dress code of public servants, in view of the other special security steps that were implemented following the attacks on Easter Sunday.

The committee then inquired the secretary if the re-issuance of the Circular on the dress code was done under the instructions a minister. He then responded, the monthly meeting of secretaries to ministries was held on 23rd of April and once again in May and relevant instructions were given on the matter during the meeting.

He further said written requests were made in this regard by the officers of Karuwalagaswewa Divisional Secretariat in Puttalam, as well the officers of his ministry. He added that issuance of the Circular was discussed with the subject minister and other officials as well.

The Circular was issued only to public servants, he said. This was implemented under the provisions of the Establishments Code, hence we did not think that this was something to be taken up to the Cabinet for approval,” he added.

Former Minister Rauff Hakeem then inquired Mr Rathnasiri if any complaints had been received that Muslim women serving as public officers were inconvenienced due to the dress code. Mr Rathnasiri responded that he had not received any complaints on the matter.

The committee members further questioned him as to whose approval was given to issue this Circular which implied that the way of dressing affects public security.

Mr Rathnasiri responded that the decision on the Circular was taken in agreement with the subject minister. In retaliation, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the subject minister, as well as the President, Prime Minister and the Caibnet of Ministers, had stated they were not aware of the matter.

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