Violation of rights recognised. The Commission highlighted that the freedom of students to follow the Hindu religion was not impaired by Muslim teachers wearing the Abaya.
The complainants who worked as assistant teachers at the respondent school stated that they have been prohibited from wearing Abaya by the Management Committee of the school.
FoRB violation – Manifestation: worship, observance, practice, teaching; Discrimination
(1) The right which is protected by Article 10 does not stipulate a time period within which one has the freedom to adapt or follow a religion or belief of one’s choice. Hence, the complainants’ right to wear the Abaya as a form of giving expression to their religious belief cannot be curtailed merely because the complainant for a period of time wore a saree to school.
(2) The state curriculum is secular, except for the subject of religion, which each student is free to follow according to his/her belief. While the respondent school follows Hindu traditions and culture the Commission finds that the teachers wearing Abaya does not in any substantive way impinge upon the right or ability of students to practice Hindu traditions.
(3) ‘…the denial of the right of the complainants to wear their tradition dress as well as the arbitrary nature of the transfers were done on the basis the religion of the complainants. Hence, the rights to which the complainants are entitled as per Article 12 (1) and 12 (2) of the Constitution have been violated.’
(4) The Commission found that social media has been used in an irresponsible manner to share factually incorrect information regarding this case which has been used to incite ethnic and religious intolerance and hatred within the community.
(5) The Commission further found that complainants’ rights under Article 10,12 (1) & (2) and 14 (1) (e) have been violated by the respondents.
The Commission directs the respondent school to ensure the complainants can wear the dress of their choice, the Abaya, to perform their duties at their assigned school…where they should be allowed to work without hinderance or harassment