The Court of Appeal yesterday (04) issued an interim injunction ordering the management of Eastern University to immediately allow a student who was refused permission
to attend lectures and appear for the examination because of his beard.
Also, a notice was issued ordering the authorities including the university’s vice-chancellor to make submissions on 14 September regarding the ban on final year nursing student to attend lectures and to sit for the examination.
A writ petition filed by the student challenging the decision of the university authorities was called before the president of the Court of Appeal Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne.
Petitioner Abdul Rahim Mohammad Nawshad’s lawyer, President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris, said the student is an Islamic follower and he is growing a beard based on his religious beliefs.
He said that two university lecturers had not allowed the student to attend lectures due to his beard and the university administration had refused to give him admission to appear for the final year examination as he had not completed the required percentage of participation in the lectures.
The President’s Counsel said the administration had decided to implement regulations regarding the dress code of the students, including the rules regarding shaving, in March last year and this student had been growing a beard since before that.
The President’s Counsel said that it is unfair and unacceptable to impose regulations that prevent students from acting on the basis of religious beliefs.
The deputy solicitor general said that many universities had prepared a series of guidelines regarding students’ dress code.
Accordingly, the Eastern University prepared a series of regulations for students in March and she mentioned that one of the regulations included that the students should shave.
She also mentioned that the majority of students’ unions had expressed their consent to these regulations.
After considering the submissions, the judge said that if there is a series of regulations for the dress code, students should be informed before admission.
The court decided to examine the petition and ordered to recall it on 14 September.