Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Belgium's Top Administrative Court Invalidates School Bans On Religious Headwear

Strasbourg Observers blog reported yesterday on two Oct. 14 decisions by Belgium's Council of State (its highest administrative court) invalidating school regulations that banned students from wearing religious headwear or other religious insignia. The bans at issue were imposed by the Flemish Community Education Board. One of the cases decided by the court involved a Sikh turban or patka and the other involved a Muslim headscarf-- the main target of the regulations. The Court held:
Taking into account the proportionality requirement, a justification is all the more necessary as the litigious ban might lead to a denial of access to education for students for the sole reason that they exercise a fundamental right, without it being adequately demonstrated that they disrupt the public order or endanger the rights and freedoms of others.
The full text of the decisions (Case 228.751 and Case 228.752 ) are available in Dutch. [Thanks to Paul deMello for the lead].