Religious attires not allowed in exam halls: Karnataka minister

On April 4, Karnataka minister BC Nagesh said that the government has decided against allowing teachers wearing hijab to take part in the invigilation process during the Class 10 examinations.
Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh on Tuesday said that students wearing hijab would not be allowed to write the second pre-university (PU) examination. (PTI)
Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh on Tuesday said that students wearing hijab would not be allowed to write the second pre-university (PU) examination. (PTI)
Updated on Apr 20, 2022 02:36 AM IST
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By, Bengaluru

Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh on Tuesday said that students wearing hijab would not be allowed to write the second pre-university (PU) examination.

“The schools where there is a prescribed uniform, students should come wearing that only. In schools where there is no uniform code, students can come in normal dresses. But no religious attire will be allowed inside the examinations halls anywhere,” said Nagesh.

The statement comes as students in the state are getting ready for their examinations scheduled from April 22 to May 18. As many as 684,255 students have enrolled for the examinations, stated an official release from the department of pre-university education.

On April 4, Nagesh said that the government has decided against allowing teachers wearing hijab to take part in the invigilation process during the Class 10 examinations. Talking to the media, the minister said that the government decided not to task teachers wearing a hijab to invigilate examinations as it wouldn’t be ‘morally right’ for teachers to wear hijab since the students aren’t allowed as per the orders of the Karnataka high court.

The hijab controversy erupted in December, last year when eight Muslim girls at the Government Pre-University college in Udupi alleged that they were denied entry to classrooms after they started wearing headscarves on December 28, 2021. Following this, several other colleges, too, banned the entry of Muslim girl students wearing hijab, leading to protests across the state. On February 5, the Karnataka government banned clothing that disturbed equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

Dismissing petitions against this order, a full bench of the Karnataka high court headed by chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi held that Quran does not mandate the wearing of hijab for Muslim women and that the attire “at the most is a means to gain access to public places” and a “measure of social security,” but “not a religious end in itself”.

Meanwhile, the All-India Lawyers’ Association For Justice, an organisation of lawyers and law students, has issued a legal notice to Nagesh. The notice alleged that the minister made misleading statements over the high court verdict.

The legal notice was referring to a statement made by the minister on March 28, in which he claimed that students will not be allowed to wear hijabs while writing the ongoing class 10 examinations. The notice said that the minister’s statement contradicts the government order (GO) of March 25 that said uniforms that are fixed by the government or private schools are to be worn.

The PU education department has stated that the examination would be conducted across 1,076 examination centres. A total of 346,936 boys and 337,319 girls are taking the exams. Seventy-four students with autism, 377 with hearing impairment, 371 with a learning disability, 683 with locomotor impairment, 128 students with mental disability, 103 with disabilities, 48 with speech impairment, 355 with visual impairment (blindness) and 55 with visual impairment (low-vision) have also enrolled for the exams, according to the government release.

The practical lab tests will be conducted in 1,030 examination centres, and 267,349 students will attend them. The students are banned from taking mobiles inside exam halls. The supervisors are permitted to carry a basic set without a camera.

Taking no chances with the security, the department has sought the police security cover to all examination centres, and all exam works will be carried out in police bandobast. The 200-meter zone surrounding the exam centres would be declared a prohibited zone.

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