Bombay HC Rejects Plea Challenging Hijab Ban in NG Acharya & DK Marathe College

Hijab Ban

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday declined to intervene in a decision made by a city-based college to enforce a ban on hijab, burka, and naqab on its premises.

A bench of Justices A S Chandurkar and Rajesh Patil stated that they were not inclined to interfere with the college’s decision.

The petition was filed by nine female students in the second and third year of a science degree program.

The students had approached the Bombay High Court earlier this month challenging a directive from Chembur Trombay Education Society’s NG Acharya and DK Marathe College, which imposed a dress code prohibiting hijabs, naqabs, burkas, stoles, caps, and badges inside the college premises.

They argued that such a directive violated their fundamental rights to practice their religion, right to privacy, and right to choice. Their advocate, Altaf Khan, presented certain Quranic verses to support their contention that wearing hijab was integral to Islam.

In addition to religious practice, the students emphasized their right to personal choice and privacy in opposing the college’s decision.

The college defended its stance, claiming the dress code applied uniformly to all students regardless of religion or caste.

Representing the college management, Senior counsel Anil Anturkar, asserted that the directive aimed at maintaining discipline and was not discriminatory towards any community.

Initially, the students had requested the college management and principal to withdraw the restrictions on naqabs, burkas, and hijabs, arguing for their right to choose, dignity, and privacy in the classroom. When their appeals to the chancellor, vice chancellor of Mumbai University, and the University Grants Commission went unanswered, they filed a petition in the High Court, describing the college’s action as arbitrary and unlawful.

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