New ¾ Rule of the Maligawa
by Dushy Ranetunge
According to police officers controlling entry at the Maligawa in Kandy, a new dress code is in place from Thursday. Those wearing ¾ length trousers will not be allowed entry. However those wearing ¾ length skirts were allowed entry on Thursday.
According to the police these rules were introduced by the Diyawadana Nilame and the chief priest of the Maligawa.
Unofficially a WPC told this reporter that the reason for this discrepancy was because trousers hug the thighs, while skirts don’t. But full length body hugging tight jeans were allowed. She found the new rules ridiculous and so did many police officers, but were carrying out the “orders” for fear of damaging their employment.
This reporter inquired from the Police officers, if in this republic the Diyawadana Nilame and the priest at the Maligawa had the right to make law.
The enforcement of dress codes for entry into public places were in breach of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
This reporter informed the police that he with his party intends to test this constitutional right of access and the rights of the Diyawadana Nilame and Buddhist monks to impose dress codes on citizens in the courts, and entered the Maligawa with several ladies wearing ¾ length trousers.
The Police hurriedly called their officer who was apologetic and acknowledged that only Parliament had the right to make law and not the Diyawadana Nilame or Buddhist monks.
He asked us to proceed while other officers who thought that the rules were plain stupid were grinning and some even expressed their support for us to take on the new regulations. They complained that they were fed up of turning visitors away because the earlier rule was below the knee.
Later we were asked to speak to the OIC who was stationed in a building opposite the Maligawa. I informed the OIC that I wished to test the right of the Diyawadana Nilame and the Chief priest of the Maligawa to make law, by imposing dress codes on citizens in breach of the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
He agreed that they had no such rights to make law and that the new dress code was only a recommendation, and agreed that they cannot legally enforce it or legally block the right of free access. We continued in our journey into the Maligawa.
After the Maligawa drumming ceased at around 8pm we visited Senani Restaurant, with spectacular views over the lake and the Maligawa. We were provided with a set of menus and a few minutes later the loitering waiter rushed back and provided us with a new set of menu’s.
When we inquired as to what the problem was, we were told that they initially thought that we were foreigners (Indians) and on realisation that we were Sri Lankans, a different menu had been provided.
It seems one of Kandy’s premiere restaurants has the same menu printed with two price lists. If you are local you get one price, but if you are a foreigner you get a different, much higher price.
It’s a bit like the Maligawa rules, ¾ skirt and the ¾ trouser.