Challenging the AIMS’ dress code for MBBS entrance examination, some students and student organisations have approached the Kerala High Court seeking permission towrite examination wearing dress as per religious beliefs and practice.
They have also sought a declaration that the instructions contained in admit card issued by the AIMS by including headgear and scarf as prohibited items to write examination were unconstitutional.
They contended that it is violative of Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India and Article 14 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child.
The writ petition read: “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.”
They also contended that if they are insisted to avoid headgear and compelled to sit in the company of other male candidates and male invigilators without wearing hijab (the dress code as per Quran and hadiths), it would be an infringement of their fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25(1).
The students, in their writ petition, submitted that if the intent is to ensure free and fair examination process, the same can achieved by employing sufficient frisking process that is normally accepted in similar situations, instead of imposing such arbitrary and unreasonable conditions on the candidate as a pre-requisite for writing examination.
In April 2016,a single judge of Kerala High Court has held that the right of women to have the choice of dress based on religious injunctions is a fundamental right protected under Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India, when such prescription of dress is an essential part of the religion.
A huge controversy had erupted last month when an 18-year-old girl from Kannur had alleged that she was asked to remove her inner wear before sitting for examination.
Read the Petition here.