Girl Moves HC After College Bars Her From Wearing Hijab to Classes
Badami had approached the HC for the first time in November 2017, by which time the college exams were long over.
A homeopathy student pursuing her bachelors in in Sai Homeopathic Medical College, Bhiwandi, moved the High Court after she was prevented from attending repeater exams for having “low attendance”, which she had because the college had not allowed her to attend classes since she would wear a hijab.
The girl, who has been identified as Fakeha Badami, is a Bandra resident, who had enrolled in the course in 2016. According to The Times of India, the college, which is affiliated with the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), did not allow her to attend lectures, solely because she would wear a hijab.
Badami had approached the High Court for the first time in November 2017, by which time the college exams were long over.
Before Badami had moved the High Court, the ministry of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy) had asked the college to resolve the issue.
In its directive, it told the college: “it cannot compel a student to not wear the hijab since it is disrespect to social justice”.
The ministry had even written to the state medical education and drugs department to inquire into whether they had any set of rules, which barred Muslim students from wearing hijabs, The Times of India report adds.
However, the college did not budge and Badami had been left with little choice but to approach the High Court in November 2017.
It wasn’t until 12 March 2018 that the college replied, denying the allegation that they had not allowed her to attend classes because she wore a hijab. Further, in a sudden twist, it said that would allow her to sit in repeater lectures.
The court even directed the college to approach the MUHS and seek its advice on rules and regulations.
Although Badami was allowed to sit for the repeater lectures, the college soon wrote to MUHS asking if Fakeha should be allowed to sit for the repeater exams considering her low attendance of “only six days”, to which MUHS replied saying she didn’t meet the attendance criteria.
Following this, Badami was forced to approach the High Court a second time.
As written in this petition, Badami’s parents had even tried to reason with the college before, saying India was a secular country and that she could not be ostracised for practicing any one religion, the report adds.
The Times of India reports that Fakeha’s advocate, Sariputta Sarnath, had told a vacation bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Ajay Gadkari on Monday, 21 May, that since Badami was only allowed to attend classes after the High Court’s order, her lack of attendance was only because the college hadn’t permitted her to attend the lectures.
The bench, in turn, asked him to serve notices to the college and other respondents. It posted the hearing for Friday, 25 May.
(With inputs from The Times of India)
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