The Delhi Minorities Commission has asked city government departments to allow minorities to wear dresses and carry articles as per their religious beliefs when appearing in recruitment and academic tests.
Acting on the commission's order, the General Administration Department (GAD) issued a circular to all principal secretaries and heads of department asking for "appropriate action" on the dress code for minority students and candidates appearing in examinations.
Minority commission chairman Zafarul Islam Khan said the order was issued in view of complaints from members of minority communities that they faced difficulties when appearing in such examinations and were forced to take off their articles of faith.
In its order, the Commission said, "Muslim women cannot be denied their religious right to wear Hijab (headscarf). They must also he allowed to wear full-sleeve shirts. The Sikhs are allowed to carry Kirpan (dagger) of reasonable length as per Indian Constitution's Article 25."
The order noted that while the security precautions are very much required during examinations, it should not harm the interests of the minorities students and candidates.
"Where certain security arrangements and frisking are required, candidates must be clearly informed in advance that they have to present themselves at the frisking point, say half an hour. The frisking staff is fully within its rights to check Hijab of Muslim women and allow them in after making sure security requirements have been met," said the order.
The Commission has directed all the government departments and educational institutions to "meticulously observe" its dress code order, saying failure to do so will invite legal action.
Pursuant to the order, the Directorate of Training and Technical Education has in its letter to principals of institutions under it has asked for necessary action.
Khan said that compliance reports on the order have been received by the Commission from various departments including the Services under Delhi government.
The Commission had last month also issued a notice to the University Grants Commission (UGC) taking up the issue of a Jamia Millia Islamia student being allegedly not allowed to appear in the UGC-NET examination for wearing Hijab (headscarf).