Bangladesh - High Court Rules that Burqa Cannot Be Forced

Publication Date: 
August 22, 2010
Daily News


Dhaka, Aug 22 (—The High Court has ruled that no women can be forced to wear burqa at work and educational institutions. 

In it's ruling The High Court on Sunday in a suo moto order directed the government to ensure that no women were forced to wear veil or religious dress in the educational institutions and offices.

The court also ordered the government to ensure that the cultural activities and sports in the educational institutions are not restricted.

The orders came in the wake of a public interest petition filed by Supreme Court lawyers Mahbub Shafi and A K M Hafizul Alam on Sunday. 

The bench of justices A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain also ruled that they cannot be barred from taking to culture and sports

The court also ordered relevant officials to explain why forcing girls to wear burqa (veil) and keeping them out of sports and cultural activities were illegal. 

The A Bengali daily news item said that principal of the college in Natore ( Northern Bangladesh ) has stopped any cultural activities and sports at the college and forced female students to wear Borka or veil in the college.

The HC also directed principal of the college Mozammel Haque to appear before the HC bench on August 26 to explain the matter.

It also issued a rule upon the government to explain why imposition of restriction on cultural activities and sports in the educational institutions and offices and forcing the female students to wear veil should not be declared illegal.

Secretaries to the ministries of home, education, social welfare and women affair and principal Mozammel Haque has been made respondent to the rule and order

The education, home, social welfare, and women and children affairs secretaries and principal of Rani Bhabani Mohila College Mozammel Huq were asked to reply to ruling. Following a brief hearing, the court also asked the principal to appear before it on Aug 26. 

The lawyers in their petition on Sunday cited a report carried by a Bengali newspaper the same day headlined, 'Burqa mandatory at Rani Bhabani Mohila College'. 

The lawyers stated such enforcement was discriminatory.