“Maintaining Secularism” – Bombay High Court Backs College Dress Code Banning Hijabs.

On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court noted that the dress code of a Mumbai institution, which forbids students from donning hijab, nakab, burka, stole, caps, and other items, is in the greater academic benefit of the students.  Nine female students from NG Acharya and D. K. Marathe College of Art, Science, and Commerce filed a writ case challenging the dress code, which was dismissed by a division bench of Justices AS Chandurkar and Rajesh S Patil.

The Bombay High Court also referred to the Full Bench decision of the Karnataka High Court in Resham v. State of Karnataka which maintained a government decree establishing a dress code that forbade the wearing of hijabs. The Karnataka High Court ruled in that case that the dress code did not violate any basic rights because it was intended to treat students as a homogeneous class in support of constitutional secularism. The Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to the Karnataka High Court’s decision, following the division bench’s October 2022 split decision.

The petitioners, who are enrolled in their second and third year of undergraduate studies, contested the dress code, arguing that it infringes upon their fundamental rights to forbid the wearing of headscarves, burkas, stoles, caps, and other items on campus. Students are supposed to dress in a formal, respectable manner that does not indicate their religion in accordance with the contested dress code. The court stated that all students are subject to the clothing code in question, regardless of their language, caste, creed, or religion. It went on to state that the college administration was entitled to basic management powers, which included setting the dress code.

We do not find as to how these guidelines and instructions are violated by the Instructions issued by the College. On the contrary, the Policy on Code of Ethics laid down by the Management of the College seeks to enforce the aforesaid guidelines and instructions”, the court stated, along with, “We are in respectful agreement with the view expressed by the Full Bench that prescription of a dress code is intended to achieve uniformity amongst students in the school/college so as to maintain discipline and avoid disclosure of one’s religion.

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Written by – Gnaneswarran Beemarao


Preserving Academic Integrity: Supreme Court Vindicates University Selection Processes

Case Title: Meher Fatima Hussain Vs. Jamia Milia Islamia & Ors.

Case No.: Civil Appeal @ SLP(C) 8333 of 2023

Dated on: April 15, 2024

Coram: J. Abhay S. Oka, J. Pankaj Mithal


In this case, Meher Fatima Hussain and two other appellants challenged their dismissal from academic positions at Jamia Millia Islamia University. Sabiha Hussain was initially appointed as a Reader and later promoted to Professor and Director at the Sarojini Naidu Centre, following a due selection process. Despite this, the university did not regularize her position, leading to her removal and subsequent legal challenge. Meher Fatima Hussain, initially appointed as a Lecturer, faced a similar situation when her probationary post was converted to a temporary post, and she was later appointed as an Associate Professor. Suraiya Tabassum was appointed as an Assistant Professor on a tenure post. All appellants faced termination and challenged their dismissals in court, arguing that their appointments were regular and lawful. The High Court initially dismissed their petitions, leading to the current appeals in the Supreme Court.

Contentions of the Appellants:

The appellants contended that their appointments at Jamia Millia Islamia University were made following a proper and regular selection process as per the university’s statutes. They argued that their appointments were not irregular or ad-hoc, as wrongly concluded by the High Court, which had erroneously applied the law from the State of Karnataka v. Uma Devi case. Further, the appellants maintained that they met all the necessary qualifications and criteria, and were selected by duly constituted Selection Committees, and their positions were sanctioned posts. They also highlighted that the UGC had approved the regularization of such appointments if made through proper selection procedures. Therefore, the appellants argued that their termination and the university’s refusal to regularize their appointments were unjustified and unlawful.

Contention of the Respondent:

The respondents, representing Jamia Millia Islamia University, contended that the appellants’ appointments were irregular and not in compliance with the required statutory and procedural norms. They argued that the appointments were temporary or ad-hoc and subject to the continuation of specific schemes or plans, such as the UGC’s XII plan period. The university emphasized that the posts held by the appellants were not regularized due to the temporary nature of the schemes under which they were appointed. They further argued that the High Court correctly applied the principles laid down in the case of State of Karnataka v. Uma Devi and that the appellants’ appointments could not be regularized as they did not meet the necessary legal and procedural requirements.

Court’s Analysis & Judgement:

The Court judiciously analysed the facts of the case and considered the contentions of both the appellants and the respondents. It examined the procedural aspects of the appointments, including the selection processes followed by the university and the nature of the posts held by the appellants. After thorough deliberation, the Court concluded that the appointments of the appellants were made through proper selection processes and were not irregular. It noted that the appellants had been serving in their respective positions for a significant period and had met the necessary qualifications. Additionally, the Court considered the correspondence from the University Grants Commission (UGC), indicating that the appointments could be regularized if made through a regular selection process. Based on these findings, the Court held that the High Court had erred in dismissing the appeals and upheld the appellants’ contentions. Therefore, it set aside the impugned judgments and granted relief to the appellants, reinstating their positions.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Shramana Sengupta

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Students Should Be Given Opportunity To Reform, Instead Of Punitive Punishment: Allahabad High Court

CASE TITLE:   Prakhar Nagar vs. State of UP & 4 Others 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 244 [Writ C No. 21339/2020]

DECIDED ON: 02.08.2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Ajay Bhanot,J


The Allahabad High Court has emphasized that universities should refrain from implementing solely punitive measures towards students. According to the court, students, being young adults, deserve a chance for rehabilitation and personal growth.


The petitioner, a student pursuing B.Tech (CSE), faced accusations of various acts of misconduct, which included engaging in morally questionable behavior, involvement in corruption or bribery, disrupting the university’s academic operations, and actions related to exams and tests. In the beginning, the petitioner was expelled from the institution for six months; however, this duration was lessened to three months upon appeal.

The legal representative for the petitioner contended that the allegations made against the petitioner were unclear and lacked specificity. There was no supporting evidence provided to substantiate the decision to expel the petitioner. Furthermore, it was argued that the punishment imposed was disproportionate. Additionally, it was highlighted that the petitioner was never officially provided with the charge sheet, which violated the fundamental principles of fairness and justice.

On the other hand, the legal representative for the respondent argued that the punishment was administered following a thorough investigation. Given the seriousness of the charges, the decision to expel the petitioner was justifiable.


The Court noted that the respondent university was incapable of disproving the allegation of disregarding principles of natural justice. The unfavorable evidence on record failed to substantiate the accusations against the petitioner. The Court expressed, “The harm caused to the petitioner due to the respondents’ adopted procedure is irreversible.”

“The structure of disciplinary measures in a higher education institution is an essential aspect of its management. The system of penalties within an organization must combine fundamental components to uphold order in the University, which contributes to its academic environment, and a rehabilitative strategy that plays a crucial role in shaping students. The fundamental aspect of a proficient disciplinary system is achieving equilibrium between acting as a deterrent and offering the potential for reform.”

Drawing from a prior verdict, Anant Narayan Mishra v. Union of India, the Court upheld the stance that students shouldn’t exclusively face punitive measures. If any punitive action is taken, it should encompass a reformatory perspective.

While granting the student’s plea and annulling the punishment, the Court declared that students, as young adults, should be granted an opportunity to rectify any mistakes and embark on a fresh journey with a clean record.

“The imposition of excessive punishment undermines the validity of punitive measures,” the Court stated.

Furthermore, the Court endorsed the request for the issuance of a revised marks sheet that reflects the petitioner’s performance assessed out of 100 marks. The Court also ordered the removal of the “Reappearance September 2020” notation and the removal of the B Cap on the petitioner’s earned marks.

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Written by- Mansi Malpani