De facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris in the Supreme Court today recalling a visit he made to an international school in Colombo in which Muslim students were dressed in traditional Punjabi attire and said that “I see no reason why this should not be permitted”.
He made these remarks when a Fundamental Rights petition filed by a parent of Janadipathi Balika Vidyalaya detailing how she was prevented from entering the school dressed in her traditional attire was taken up before the Supreme Court.
Earlier a student of the school also filed a separate case detailing how she was harassed by the Principal for wearing the punjabi attire which includes a shawl and a trouser apart from the uniform.
The reference to students was made when Counsel Manohara De Silva appearing for the Principal said that the order made by the Supreme Court in the current case should not be streched to another case filed by a student.
While agreeing to the submission made by the Counsel, De facto Chief Justice said- ” I recently when for a ceremony at the Colombo International School and there was a nicely dressed Muslim girl with her head scarf and trousers on, if its good for them I see no reason why it is not good for the rest”.
When the case that was taken up today the Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General of Sri Lanka to give directions to officials of all public institutions to not obstruct Muslim ladies who are attired in their traditional cultural dress.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, S. Sripavan and Priyantha Jayawardena so directed the Attorney General.
The Petitioner was a parent of a student of Janadipathi Balika Vidyalaya, Rajagiriya who was prevented from entering the school attired in a head scarf and gown.
” This is a traditional dress and no one can be offended by it” Mohan Pieris said.
Counsel Manohara De Silva PC who appeared for the Principal however,insisted that the identity of the parent must be ascertained, referring to the face veil.
At that point Counsel M.M. Zuhair who appeared with Hafeel Farisz pointed out that in the current case there is no instance of adorning a face veil, but despite such, the Petitioner was violently prevented from entering the school.
At one point the Mohan Pieris asked the Petitioner- parent to identify her self and when she did he commended the dress.
” This is a beautiful dress and no one can take offence of it. Its decent enough and she is well within her rights to be attired in it” he told open court.
The case of the parent was thereafter terminated with all parties agreeing to the order of the court.
The case filed by the student is to be taken up on August 4th 2014.