Jun 19, 2007 at 09:34pm IST

12-yr-old loses appeal over veil ban in UK

New Delhi: A 12-year-old schoolgirl in Britain lost a legal challenge to her school's ban on a full-face veil on Wednesday.

Justice Silber, in his judgment in Buckinghamshire court, ruled that the ban was "proportionate" in the light of factors like the veil prevented teachers from seeing a pupil's facial expression – a key element in effective classroom interaction and necessity to enforce a school uniform policy.

The judge had been told that the girl's three older sisters had attended the same school and had worn the niqab with no problems.

THE VEILED TRUTH: The court said that the veil prevented teachers from seeing a pupil's facial expression. (IBN)

But the school in Buckinghamshire had told the girl it was not acceptable because teachers believed it would make communication and learning difficult.

The judge has now rejected her lawyers' arguments for a judicial review. Due to legal reasons the girl and the school have not been identified publicly.

It is understood she has been taught at home after the uniform policy last autumn. About 120 of the school's 1,300-plus pupils are Muslims and about half of them wear the hijab headscarf, which is permitted.

In his judgment, Justice Silber said he was dealing with one particular case and not the wider issue of whether the niqab should be worn, in schools or anywhere else.

(With inputs from PTI)