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Students file petition Challenging Hijab Ban in Mumbai College

The petition, filed by the students, alleges that the college administration's decision to enforce a dress code that prohibits the wearing of hijab is arbitrary and biased. According to the students, the ban disregards religious beliefs and rights

Students file petition Challenging Hijab Ban in Mumbai College
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In a significant legal challenge, nine female students from NG Acharya and DK Marathe College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Mumbai have taken their college administration to the Bombay High Court over a contentious dress code issue. The students have filed a petition asserting that the recent ban on wearing hijab on campus infringes upon their fundamental rights and constitutes religious discrimination.

Allegations of Bias

The petition, filed by the students, alleges that the college administration's decision to enforce a dress code that prohibits the wearing of hijab is arbitrary and biased. According to the students, the ban not only disregards their religious beliefs but also violates their constitutional rights to privacy, dignity, and religious freedom.

Approaching the High Court

Zainab Chaudhary, a student involved in the petition, expressed frustration with the lack of support within the college and emphasized that legal recourse was their only option. "When we raised concerns about the dress code with the principal, we were met with a directive to comply," said Ummul Vara, another petitioner, highlighting their attempts to resolve the issue internally before resorting to legal action. Khan Anjon, a B.Sc. student among the petitioners, explained that approaching the Bombay High Court was a last resort after exhausting all avenues for dialogue with college management. "For us, the ability to wear the hijab is not a trivial matter. It's about our identity and religious practice," Anjon emphasized, reflecting the deep significance of the issue to the students.

Incident in Marathe College

Meanwhile, Acharya Marathe College in Chembur,  extended its ban on Muslim women wearing headscarves and burqas to its degree-level programs, aligning with existing restrictions at the junior college level. Implemented alongside a new dress code this month, the policy prohibits attire deemed "revealing" and religious items like hijab, niqab, and burqa, sparking protests among Muslim female students. Updated guidelines mandate "non-revealing full formal dress" from June onward, with removal of religious headgear upon entering campus, except on Thursdays. In response, 30 students have appealed to the college to reconsider, citing concerns over religious freedom and cultural expression.

College Response and Future Steps

Efforts to resolve the matter through discussions with college management reportedly yielded no favorable outcome for the students. With classes now underway and restrictions in place, including being barred from attending classes in burqa, the students felt compelled to seek legal intervention. The outcome of this legal challenge could potentially set a precedent regarding religious freedoms and dress codes in educational institutions across India. The Bombay High Court is expected to hear the petition in the coming weeks, with both sides preparing to present their arguments in this closely watched case.

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