To prevent malpractice, the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) has implemented a rule that prohibits the use of any type of head cover in the exam hall during recruitment exams for various boards and corporations.
According to NDTV, the new dress code guidelines do not explicitly prohibit hijab, but it is implied by the order. The intention behind this is to prevent cheating during exams by using Bluetooth devices.
On 6 November, a female candidate participating in the Karnataka Public Service Commission examination was instructed to take off her 'mangalsutra' prior to entering the exam hall.
Following protests from Hindutva groups, the KEA has revised its policy to permit women to wear mangalasutra and toe rings in the examination hall. However, other forms of jewellery remain restricted.
The recruitment exams for different boards and corporations will take place on 18 and 19 November throughout the state.
In October, the Karnataka government granted permission for students to wear the Hijab during competitive exams. This decision by the Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar led to protests from right-wing groups.
In response to complaints about certain students using Bluetooth devices, the state government has decided to enforce a ban.
The State government ordered a probe by the state CID into an incident where candidates at Kalaburagi and Yadgir examination centres allegedly used Bluetooth devices for writing the exams conducted by the KEA in October 2023.
The dress code for the exam prohibits girls from wearing high heeled shoes, jeans, and T-shirts. On the other hand, men are allowed to wear half-sleeve shirts that are not tucked into their trousers.
In 2022, the Karnataka government's ban on wearing the Hijab in classrooms was upheld by the Supreme Court. This decision also applied to other Board exams such as Class X and XII, as well as the Common Entrance Test conducted by the KEA.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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