The Supreme Court, while hearing a Muslim organisation's petition challenging the CBSE's circular on dress code for students appearing for AIPMT re-test on 25 July, on Friday refused to allow the wearing of hijab during the pre-medical test.
JUST IN: SC refuses to allow hijab in All India Pre-Medical Test, says it's a small issue & faith won't disappear by not wearing it on a day
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) July 24, 2015
In its ruling, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the instructions on dress code issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is a "small issue" as the faith of Muslims will not "disappear" if they do not wear hijab for a day.
The Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIOI) had moved the SC seeking a ban on CBSE's instructions that bar students appearing for AIPMT re-test from wearing "scarf, full-sleeved shirts and shoes".
The CBSE had issued a circular on the dress code after the apex court instructed it to re-conduct the medical entrance test after the alleged question paper leak and cheating in the test originally conducted on 3 May. Students were allegedly caught using devices hidden in their clothes for cheating.
The SIOI argued in its PIL that the dress code issued by the CBSE will lead to violation of their "rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India".
"The petitioners have limited but serious objection to this notification so far as it prohibits "scarf", "hair pin" and "hair band", and also mandates that all candidates wear only "half sleeves" clothes "not having big buttons," the India Today quoted lawyer Shadan Farasat, who represents SIOI, as saying.
"All the three petitioners are practising Muslim girls, who dress as per the religious mandate. This requires them to wear scarf and hijab. This, in turn, requires hair pin for affixation. Further, as per the religious mandate, they wear full sleeve clothes while appearing in public. If the above portions of the notification of CBSE are enforced, the petitioners will not be in a position to appear for AIPMT scheduled for July 25, 2015, which would amount to blatant violation of their rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India," Farasat said.
After issuing the circular on dress code, the CBSE clarified that they do not bar students from wearing their customary dress but only want to prevent "inconvenience to the candidates during frisking by metal detectors".
"There is no bar on wearing customary dress or for such candidates appearing from centres in extreme climatic conditions. However, such candidates should ensure their presence for frisking by metal detector at least half-an-hour before the last reporting time i.e. 9.30 am. All examination centres have been advised accordingly. The candidates are requested to cooperate with the board and the examination centres to maintain the sanctity of the re-examination being held as per orders of the hon'ble Supreme Court of India," The Indian Express quoted CBSE as saying.