The High Court of Kerala on Wednesday allowed the challenge to the dress code prescribed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for MBBS entrance examination. It observed that the prohibition against wearing of headgear and scarfs during the examination is violative of Article 25 of the Constitution of India.
“…the Writ Petitions are disposed of directing that the dress code restrictions as regards use of headgears/ head scarfs shall not be enforced against candidates who, by virtue of Article 25(1) of the Constitution, have the protection to wear such dress as part of their faith,” Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar observed.
The Judge, however, clarified that candidates shall appear at the examination centres at least one hour before the commencement of the examination, to allow adequate time for frisking. It further ordered that it shall be ensured that frisking of women candidates shall be conducted only by women invigilators.
The Court was hearing Petitions filed by several students and student organizations, who had contended that such restrictions were violative of Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India and Article 14 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child.
“As per the Quranic instructions and the authentic Hadiths (Sayings of prophet Muhammed), believing women have to cover their body except face with loose outer garments and cannot appear in public or in the company of no blood-related male members, even if it is for a short duration,” the Petition had said.
The Petitioners had further contended that if the intent was to ensure free and fair examination process, the same can be achieved by employing sufficient frisking procedures, instead of imposing arbitrary conditions on the candidates.
Read the Order here.