Some 24 Indians calling themselves Madras merchants, residing and trading in Durban, submitted the following petition to the resident magistrate of Durban on 30 July 1883. Source: Magistrates Records, Correspondence (Durban), file 26, 30 July 1883, Natal Archives.
1.That your petitioners have had brought to their knowledge a certain order made by your worship to the effect that all Coolies or Indians on entering the court should uncover their heads and take off their boots.
2.That your petitioners have been informed that the said order has been acted upon and that since the issue thereof several respectable Indians belonging to their castes have been either made to uncover on entering the court and have had to submit to such command or have left the court.
3.That your petitioners have most of them resided for a considerable time in Mauritius and they cannot do better than bring to your worship's knowledge that in or about the year 1866 the question now at issue, that is to say whether your petitioners should be made to uncover and take off their boots on entering a court of law, was fully discussed there and finally decided by the upper court after reference to the Governor of India in favour of your petitioners.
4. That on such occasion it was decided that your petitioners were not to be obliged to uncover nor take off their boots except in the case of loose slippers but never when the shoe had to be touched with the hands.
5.That it is against the custom of your petitioners to uncover their heads and never either in this Colony, in Madras or elsewhere was your petitioners subjected to such an order as that made by your worship.
That your petitioners humbly pray that your worship will reconsider such order and rescind the same so far as it refers to your petitioners....