In yet another incident, a Muslim girl has moved the Bombay High Court against her college, accusing it of not allowing to wear a headscarf and barring her from writing exams on the ground of having low attendance. According to a report, the petitioner, a resident of Mumbai’s Bandra has filed a petition in court seeking permission to sit for the first-year-examinations of Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) course at Sai Homeopathic Medical College (SHMC) in Bhiwandi beginning June 1.
In her petition, the girl identified as Fakeha Badami stated that she had cleared her Common Entrance Test and secured admission in the institution on December 14, 2016. While the session started on December 27, 2016, she started attending college from the next day. She further added, “To her utter shock and dismay, the college started forcing all Muslim girls to remove their headscarf in order to attend classes.” The petitioner also claimed that a couple of girls have left the college because of such mindless action was taken by the institution.
According to a report, the student before approaching the Bombay High Court had requested the college authorities to allow her to wear the headscarf as it is a part of their religious practice and hence cannot be denied on the basis of Constitutional rights. On January 11, 2017, girl’s father also wrote a letter to the Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy. On receiving the complaint, the ministry pulled up the college authorities and stated that no institution can compel the Muslims to remove headscarf as it against social justice.
In her petition, the girl also mentioned that her father also approached the State Medical Education and Drugs Department regarding the issue following which the department directed the college to meet the petitioner and resolve the issue, but no measures were taken by the authorities. The father again informed the department, following which, the college authorities were asked to appear before Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) officials for a hearing on May 15, 2017. The student’s family even approached the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), but the issue remains unsolved.
Finally, after failing to get the issue resolved, the struggling girl filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on March 12, 2018. On March 27, the student sought permission from the college to submit her examination form so that she could sit for her papers from June 1. She was, however, not allowed to submit the form. The college allegedly told her that it has approached MUHS, seeking guidance for permitting her to appear in the examinations. The petitioner stated that MUHS told her that it has been directed by the HC “to act in accordance with law” and so, she is being denied permission to sit for examination, as she had failed to meet the mandatory attendance criteria.
The petitioner told the court that MUHS has to consider that she could not attend college for the entire academic year. The plea added that “non attendance is not due to failure of the petitioner to attend classes but the same is due to the arbitrary behaviour of the college and hence, the petitioner ought to have been attending the classes regularly.”