A bunch of students (aged between 19 and 21) from Govandi area of Mumbai have approached the Bombay High Court against their college, seeking rejection of a notice banning the use of naqab or burqa in classrooms. 

The plea, filed through advocate Altaf Khan, takes exception to a message circulated by Assistant Professor Pravin Bendle on May 1, 2024, which mentions a 'dress code'. The message stated that girls are allowed to wear only Indian or Western dress, but non-revealing full formal dress. However, burka, nakab, hijab, badge, cap, stole were directed to be removed and restricted in college.

"Only after removing burka, naqab and hijab on the ground floor, are students allowed to move around in college," the message stated.

Khan stated that the petitioners live in slums and have been donning the burqa for the past two to seven years.

The college, Chembur Trombay Education Society's, NG Acharya and DK Marathe, is affiliated to Mumbai University and is aided by the government. The plea stated that for the initial years of petitioners' education at the college, there were no restrictions on wearing naqaband, hijab, either on the college campus, or in the classroom.

No uniform was prescribed, senior college students were allowed in naqab and hijab in the classroom, as they were and are comfortable with. However, it was suddenly in May this year that such a message was circulated through the college principal, stated the plea. 

On May 13, the students approached the college administration over the issue, but they allegedly paid no heed. The petitioners even approached Mumbai University and the University Grants Commission but did not receive any response from any of the authorities.

Students are worried that the new academic year commenced this week, but when the petitioners joined college on Thursday, they were again told by the college management that their naqabs and burqas would not be allowed. The girls then pointed out school's message that stated that there would be a relaxation on the dress code on Thursday. However, the school management told them that the relaxation was for other kinds of dress, but not naqabs and burqas.

Khan mentioned the plea for urgent hearing before the bench of Justices AS Chandurkar and RS Patil on Friday and the plea will now be heard on June 19.

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2024-06-14T23:16:13Z dg43tfdfdgfd