Preventing Six Muslim Women from attending classes is Violative of Fundamental Rights: PUCL Karnataka

The six women have been prevented from attending classes in govt PU college in Udupi since 31 December because they have chosen to wear a headscarf.


Udupi, Karnataka: Six Muslim women have been prevented from attending classes since 31 December because they have chosen to wear a headscarf in Government Women’s PUC college in Udupi. The college refusal to allow six Muslim women from entering their class is a violation of their fundamental rights.

They have been subjected to harassment and subjected to the indignity of trying to follow the lectures from outside the classroom.

The Government PU College comes within the definition of state under Article 12 of the Constitution and is duty bound to ensure that it does not violate the fundamental rights of the concerned students to education, to equal treatment, expression of their religious faith and to the right to dignity.

By not allowing the students to enter the classroom the management of the Government PU women’s college in Udupi has violated the basic right of the Muslim girls. Article 15(1) prohibits non-discrimination on the grounds of religion and sex and this provision is violated by the arbitrary ban on the right of Muslim women’s to access education and express their identity.

As interpreted by the Supreme Court Article 21 guarantees the right to live with dignity and the prohibition of the use of the hijab violates the right to dignity of the Muslim women students as the dress is an intrinsic part of the expression of their identity as Muslim women.

Article 21-A guarantees right to education and this prohibition of Muslim women from attending classes violates the right to education.

Most importantly article 25 gives the freedom to practice, propagate and profess religion and since the hijab is an essential aspect of the Islamic faith. The prohibition of the wearing of the hijab hits the constitutional guarantee under Article 25.

In 2005, the then Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh had set-up high level High Level Committee for preparation of report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India led by Justice Rajindar Sachar, popularly known asSachar committee report which had also highlighted the issue of hijab. Testimonies documented by the Committee indicated how in corporate offices hijab wearing Muslim women were finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs. Muslim women in burqa complain of impolite treatment in the market, in hospitals, in schools, in accessing public facilities such as public transport and so on .

Today by prohibiting Muslim students from accessing their right to education, a more far reaching attack on the rights of Muslim women has been launched. It has to be resisted.

PUCL – Karnataka demands that the Government to:

1.Immediately allow the students to enter the classroomand in consultation with students’ special classes be taken for them.

2. Protect the Right to equality, non-discrimination, education, religious expression and dignity as fundamental rights of the concerned students.

3. Urge the Human Rights Commission and Minority commission to register suo moto complaints against the principal and management of the college for violating fundamental rights of the concerned students.


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June 2024


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