Teacher petitions right to wear Abaya, Hijab | Daily News


Landmark FR case before Supreme Court :

Teacher petitions right to wear Abaya, Hijab

The Supreme Court yesterday allowed a Fundamental Rights petition by a female school teacher seeking an Interim Order staying the school authorities and State from preventing her from reporting to work at school wearing an Abaya and Hijab.

The Supreme Court three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira De Abrew, Murdu Fernando and S. Thurairaja fixed the case for support on September 4.

The petitioner, Mohamed Ibrahim Fathima Zahrin, 44, a teacher in a school in Kandy, filed this petition challenging the operation of the provisions of the Public Administration Circular No. 13/2019 dated 29th May 2019, which denies the right to wear an Abaya.

Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni De Silva appearing for the Attorney General informed court that after the filing of the case, a new public administration circular dated 26.06.2019 has been published, making it clear that there is no prohibition on wearing the Abaya and Hijab.

In view of this development, the Court re-fixed the matter for support on September 4 with the agreement of counsel, to enable the petitioner to see whether steps are taken to comply with the position that there now should not be any obstruction to the wearing of the Abaya and Hijab.

Senior Counsel Viran Corea with counsel Thilini Vidanagamage instructed by Latheef Ashar appeared for the petitioner.

ASG Indika Demuni De Silva appeared for the State.

In her petition, the Petitioner cited the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management, Director General of Establishments, Minister of Public Administration, the Principal of Ranabima Royal College and the Attorney General as respondents.

The Petitioner stated that, being unaware of the said Public Administration Circular 13/2019 dated May 29, 2019, she had reported to work on or about 31st May 2019 in her usual attire as she had been doing all along as a public officer (i.e. wearing an Abaya with a Hijab), she was warned by the Principal that she should abide by the said Public Administration Circular 13/2019 dated 29th May 2019 and wear a Saree.




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