Patil has been quoted as saying in a function, "I personally don't favour women wearing provocative clothes and always feel they need to be dignified in whatever they wear." He added that women should use their judgement and decide how much skin they should cover.
Dinesh Reddy had irked many when he said that a rise in rape cases was due to provocative dressing by women who wear "flimsy and fashionable" dresses. Patil was more or less in agreement with Reddy's comments when he said that rapes and sexual harassment occur when there is marked decline in men's moral values. The underlying message being that the provocative dressing leads to men's moral's hitting a low.
Patil made the comments, "Today's lifestyle makes it mandatory for women to work like men and live on equal terms with them. So women work in IT companies and call centres at night, they ought to know how much skin they should cover when they leave for such work places. Thus, I leave the issue of their dressing to them."
He added, "I do not insist on a dress code for women because women belonging to various castes and communities dress according to their culture and tradition. Many women wear saris while others wear salwar. At the same time, there are western outfits like low-waist jeans also easily available in the market. But it's up to women to decide which dress is safe for them."
Patil was quick to realize his folly and to avoid being called a women-hater, he said, "Over the centuries, we have given respectful position and dignified status to women. We worship women in many ways. As a mark of respect to women, many rivers are named after them in the country which only indicates the respect we have towards women.''