Several Muslim women did not issue admission cards for the Bengal Police recruiting exam due to their hijab-clad photos, HC intervenes: Details

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The Calcutta High Court intervened after Muslim women moved the court over being denied admission cards for Bengal police recruiting exams. According to reports, more than 1,000 Muslim women did not receive an admission card because they had affixed pictures of them wearing a hijab. Calcutta High Court suspended the West Bengal Police Recruitment Board’s recruitment process after a group of Muslim women filed a petition alleging that their application forms for recruiting police officers were rejected due to wearing the hijab (headscarf) in the photo.

Calcutta HC submitted the result of the recruitment process to its ordinance. The case is now scheduled for hearing on January 6, 2022.

Extract from court order (Order credit: LiveLaw)

“The petitioners question the rejection of their candidacy for having applied with their respective photographs with a head covering (hijab) as part of their religious practice while the face in the photograph is clear for necessary identification,” noted Judge Arindam Mukherjee.

The court then submitted the results of these candidates to its order, considering that an important point arises for deliberation in this motion in brief.

Background to the case and why Muslim women’s application forms were rejected during the West Bengal police recruiting exam

The West Bengal Police Recruitment Board (WBPRB) conducted a preliminary review to recruit officers into the state police force on September 26. The Council issued admission cards on September 6. According to the petitioners, nearly 1,000 Muslim women had not received their exam admission cards because they had included photos of them wearing the hijab in the application forms.

The application forms were rejected based on the rules for exams which state that applicants’ faces should not be covered in any way in their application forms.

Extract from court order (Order credit: LiveLaw)

The petitioners, fully aware of this rule, submitted photos with the hijab on. When they were rejected, they asked the court that the rejection and the rule itself infringe their right to practice their religion.


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