The Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by the Central Board of Secondary Education challenging its single judge’s order granting permission to Muslim girls to wear the ‘Hijab’, a customary religious dress, while appearing for All India Pre-Medical Test-2016.
A division bench, comprising Justice PN Ravindran and Justice Sunil Thomas, observed that no ground had been made out to interfere with the April 26 order of the single judge.
It further said the CBSE in principle has accepted the ruling of the single judge in its April 26 memorandum wherein it directed the candidates wearing hijab to appear for the test at 8.30 am.
In his order, Justice Muhammed Mushtaq had permitted all candidates who, based on the religious practice, want to wear headscarf and full-sleeved dress to appear for the test but on condition that they be present at the hall an hour before the exam for frisking, if necessary, by women invigilators.
In its appeal, the CBSE said the single judge had ignored the likelihood of millions of students being affected by its direction, particularly in view of the fact that arrangements for the conduct of examination had been completed.
The CBSE had contended that since the judgement creates necessity for additional women invigilators, it would find conduct of the examination with such additional women invigilators trained to “honour religious sentiments” extremely cumbersome, unmanageable and unworkable at this “extremely belated stage”.
The single judge had said that the CBSE dress code shall not be enforced against the candidates who, by the virtue of Article 25 of the Constitution, are protected with regard to wearing such dress as prescribed in the injunctions of their faith.
The order was issued on a petition by one Amnah Bint Basheer, challenging the dress code prescribed for the candidates by CBSE in the bulletin relating to conduct of AIPMET-2016.