The Tamil Nadu Directorate of School Education has called for an "appropriate dress code" for teachers and demanded strict adherence to it.
In the absence of any provocation or complaints, the move has sparked off a debate on what is "decent".
The directorate has asked all district and chief educational officers to direct government and recognised schools’ principals to ensure that teachers conform to the dress code.
“On the school campus, they should not wear any attire which is against "our cultural ethos", the directorate’s June 29 advisory says.
The unprovoked code has baffled many. Complaints about improper attire by teachers have been far and few.
In the recent past, the high court had to restrain a private college management in Chennai, which termed the salwar-kameez as "indecent".
The court ruled that it was the right of teachers to wear salwar-kameez.
Similar cases were reported in Madurai and elsewhere. However, there was never a furore over what teachers wear.
The directorate argued that teachers should be role models right from their choice of how they dress.
Even in 2009, the directorate had prescribed a dress code for teachers. It had banned jeans and T-shirts for men while women were not allowed to wear low-cut blouses and “transparent” sarees.
India: Nine other ministers also took the oath.