A homoeopathy student has moved the Bombay High Court after her college disallowed her to write exams due to poor attendance, which, she claimed, was because she was barred from attending classes as she wears the ‘hijab’ (headscarf).
Fakeha Badami, a resident of suburban Bandra, in her petition filed earlier this week, claimed that her attendance was poor because the Sai Homoeopathic Medical College, located at the Bhiwandi township in the neighbouring Thane district, did not allow her to attend lectures as she wears the hijab.
The petition claimed that the college prohibited all Muslim students from wearing the hijab on its premises.
As per her petition, Badami had in 2016 enrolled in the Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery course in the college, which is affiliated to the Maharashtra University of Health Services (MUHS).
She had written letters to the MUHS and the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) which asked the college to resolve the issue, saying it cannot compel a student to not wear the hijab. But, the college did not budge, said the petition.
The student had first approached the high court in November 2017 when she was not allowed to appear for the examinations held then.
The college had then told the high court that it would accommodate her in the repeater lectures and examinations that will be held in the summers of 2018, it said.
Despite this, she was allowed to attend the repeater lectures only from March this year and was again barred from appearing for the repeater exams on the ground of poor attendance, Badami claimed in the petition.
The other Muslim students had either stopped wearing the hijab to the college or left the institution. But since she continued to wear the hijab, she was being harassed, the student alleged.
“India is a secular democracy. Denying anyone the right to wear the hijab amounts to violation of fundamental right to practice religion of their choice,” the petition said.
A vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Ajey Gadkari will hear the petition on May 25.