Hijabs & Veils should be allowed in exams.

Hijabs & Veils should be allowed in exams.


Supreme Court had barred Muslim girls from appearing the All India Pre-Medical entrance test (AIMPT) with their headscarves on. The two girls who moved the court did not remove the scarf and hence could not appear in the medical examination.

A Catholic nun was also not allowed to sit for the examination with her veil and cross. She too could not appear the examination.

It is understood that CBSE which conducts the AIMPT has rules and guidelines regarding dresses in which students must appear for the examination not wearing full sleeves dresses, veil or headscarf, or any type of accessories. However, the incident with the Muslim girls not being able to sit for the examination and now a Catholic nun denied the same has stirred controversies.

Is the act of barring students from appearing examinations because of their dressing justified?

Hijabs and veils should be allowed:

1. Education amongst Muslim girls is still low, especially in lower middle class and poor families which constitute more than half of the population. Orthodox Muslims do not allow girls to go for higher education, with or without hijabs. They are expected to get basic education and then learn to be good housewives and mothers. Things are changing and many orthodox families have come out of this ancient dogma. Usually girls from these families show greater interests in making a career of their own and being self dependent but they cannot do so by giving up what they consider religious to them.

2. Such debacles like preventing them from wearing headscarves or asking them to remove it if they are interested in sitting for the examination is embarrassing and girls have decided not to remove their hijabs which according to many educated Muslims is their own choice rather than a forced practice by religion. If a girl has rights to wear shorter or less clothes, they also must have the rights to wear any extra piece of cloth they want. For nuns it is not just a mandatory rule to wear a veil and cross but also her own faith and belief that she chooses, not submits to.

3. Sikh boys are allowed to wear turbans. It is a matter of religious practice for them. The Supreme Court did not and cannot rule against this practice. Similarly, hijabs and veils are not just a piece of head covering for Muslims and Catholics but their own practice by faith. It does not make them less competent or orthodox. It does not show that they lack interests in examinations.

4. Kerala High Court had allowed two Muslim girls to wear hijabs in examinations given that they appear an hour before the examination for a thorough inspection by a lady invigilator to prevent cheating by usage of mobile gears and cheating papers. If prevention of cheating is the motive behind dress code for AIMPT or any other examination that bans headscarves, this practice should be enough of a precautionary measure. But we can clearly see that the SC is more bent on defining essentials and non-essentials of religion on its own terms, now also playing the role of clergy.

5. Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Even at schools a Muslim girl cannot be asked to remove her hijab but we are far behind in religious tolerance. SC needs to be reminded that what we Indians lack and is in desperate need of is not religious equality, but religious tolerance. Two diverse religions cannot be equal or have equal faith. We need to accept and appreciate our diversity and only then can we truly be tolerant to prevent religious brawls that splits the country into pieces.

6. It is not upon SC to decide "your faith will not disappear" or it would. This barring has led to a whole year loss for some high scorers amid Muslim girls and Catholic nuns. Instead of listening to the pleas with an open mind, SC took the easy way out by simply barring them. Irony is that despite such restrictions, there was large scale cheating incidents in Punjab and Haryana. The examination had to be re-conducted. Perhaps CBSE should consider means that would successfully keep a check on cheating instead of laying such vague guidelines.

Hijabs and veils should not be allowed:

1. The CBSE dress code instructs students to come in light clothes without big buttons and in open slippers only as it has barred rings, bracelet, earrings, nose pins, pendants and even watches at the examination hall. This is only a measure to prevent cheating from advanced mobile phone gears that can easily be hidden in full sleeves or head covers. This is not intended to hurt religious sentiments but to promote fair examination system.

2. Politics takes its toll in every little issue that arises out of preventing religious rights. Youth, however, must ensure that such petty issues do not go on to waste the time of apex court. Adhering to the rules of examination is just the beginning. In a profession like medical science, we cannot have doctors and surgeons wearing hijabs and veils. It would be uncomfortable for them, no doubt. A covering on your head and face with only the eyes visible creates doubts sometimes too. Your identity is under question. Islamic laws asks women and men to stay chaste and lower their glances to prevent falling to lust. Hijab is not mandatory to do so.

3. Allowing Muslim girls and Catholic nuns to wear hear covers would create more number of cases where people will want to wear their own religious symbol to examinations. What if someone wants to turn up in an examination hall dressed as a Hindu religious guru? With all the accessories and clothing, would there be a chance that invigilators can check every single student for hidden devices?

4. Invigilators already experience a tough time preventing mass cheating in some areas. With permission for religious freedom of wearing or carrying whatever they want, it would be fuss all over the examination hall. Sikhs would want to carry "kirpan" which is also not allowed.


CBSE should consider the kind of embarrassment a girl, who has been wearing the hijab since years, would face if she's asked to remove it in an examination hall. Similarly a Catholic nun cannot remove her veil and cross just as a Sikh cannot remove his turban.

In this case, the decision should be taken keeping in mind the religious sentiments of various communities.
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  • RE: Hijabs & Veils should be allowed in exams. -Deepa Kaushik (08/05/15)
  • It is very well understood that CBSE has doneits best to control the illegal measures of cheating during the entrance examinations. But, we should understand the fact that life is not just black or white. It varies between the shades of grey. We are living in a democratic and secular country, and we need to keep-up the interest of its citizens.

    Being in a secular country, we need to maintain all the religious requirements and give equal importance to all the reliugious believes. In case CBSE has allowewd the Sikh boys to wear their turbans just for the reason that their religion doesn't allow the same, then why not the hijabs and veils. Is that just the religious discrimination or also the gender bias that is coming into play?

    It is not the requirement of the profession in the medical fielkd which prohibits them from hijabs or veils. In case it is the requirement of the profession, it is again understandable and acceptable. But when theprofession does not have any such requirement or commitments, then CBSE should definitely consider these requirements which prevent the candidates from appearing in the entrance examination.

    Supreme Court is there to protect the rights of the citizens and maintain the equality before law. When the plea was raised seeking permission for hijabs and veils in the entrance examinations, then the court should have either permitted the hijabs and veils; else it should have also banned the sikh boys from wearing turbans.

    It is the duty of the board to ensure proper means to check unfair means thereby fulfilling the religious requirements.