Arabiyya School niqab ban: Interim order denied by High Court as well

Arabiyya School is being run in the temporary building made for Dharumavantha School. (Photo/Arabiyya School)

High Court has upheld the decision by Civil Court to deny an interim order to halt the enforcement of Education Ministry's directive banning female students of Arabiyaa School who wear the niqab, from wearing niqab with their uniforms.

Civil Court, in their decision to deny an interim order against Education Ministry and Arabiyya School requested by the parents, said the claimant seeking the order does not possess the capacity to request such an order. The court order further said although the case was filed on behalf of the students, the documents submitted do not show who these students are or which grade they are currently enrolled in at Arabiyya school.

The decision further read that it is evident from the testimonies of the plaintiff and the state that the students have not been deprived of education despite them wearing niqab against the dress code, contrary to what was claimed by the plaintiff. 

The parents of Arabiyya School students appealed the case in the High Court through a private law firm, Rehendhi Chambers.

The law firm previously said they decided to appeal the Civil Court's decision to the High Court as it was not legally just. The case alleges that the ministry has ordered the niqab ban in violation of the Maldivian Constitution, the Education Act, the Protection of Children's Rights Act, and international conventions to which Maldives is a party to. 

Supporting the points raised in the Civil Court ruling, the High Court said there was no information mentioning who the children of the plaintiff were and in what grade they were studying at Arabiyya School.

In addition, the recipients of the letter sent to the parents of Arabiyya School do not include the name of the plaintiff in the case. 

Therefore, High Court judges Huzaifa Mohamed, Hassan Shafeeu and Mohamed Salim, who presided over the case, upheld the Civil Court's judgment, denying the issuance of an interim order. 

Education Ministry instructed Arabiyya School against allowing any changes to the uniform code on December 28, 2022, citing niqab was not permitted by the uniform code.