Kochi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thursday approached the Kerala High Court challenging its single bench order granting permission to Muslim girls to wear the hijab (head-scarf), a customary religious dress, for All India Pre-Medical Test-2016.
The AIPMT 2016 is scheduled to be held on May 1.
The CBSE filed an appeal before the division bench of the High Court, stating the single bench had ignored the likelihood of millions of students being affected by its direction, particularly in view of the fact that arrangements for the conduct of examination have been completed.
It contended that since the judgment creates necessity for additional women invigilators, the CBSE would find conduct of the examination with such additional women invigilators trained to "honour religious sentiments" extremely cumbersome, unmanageable and unworkable with the existing manpower extant arrangement at this extremely belated stage".
In his April 26 order, Justice Muhammed Mushtaq had permitted all candidates who, based on the religious practice, want to wear headscarf and full-sleeved length dress to appear for the examination but on condition that they be present at the hall half an hour before the exam for frisking, if necessary, by women invigilators.
The Court had said that the CBSE dress code shall not be enforced against the candidates who, by the virtue of Article 25, are protected from wearing such dress as prescribed in the injunctions of their faith.
The order was issued while hearing a writ petition by one Amnah Bint Basheer, challenging the dress code prescribed for the candidates by CBSE in the bulletin relating to conduct of AIPMET-2016.
The petitioner had contended that the instructions contained in the AIPMET-2016 bulletin on dress code, as per her religious beliefs and practises, would amount to violation of exercise of religious freedom.
Last year, a single Judge of the Kerala High Court had allowed two Muslim girl students to wear hijab while appearing for CBSE AIPMT-2015.
"The learned Single judge having impliedly declined relief quashing the relevant provisions of the AIPMET Bulletin, however erred in proceeding to grant omnibus reliefs which are unworkable and completely without jurisdiction", according to the appeal filed by CBSE before the division bench.
A division bench of the High Court will consider the case on Friday.