Chief justice calls on courts to obey scarf ruling for lawyers

Judiciary says every court must obey the ruling of the Council of State for lawyers wearing a headscarf.

Chief justice calls on courts to obey scarf ruling for lawyers

World Bulletin/News Desk

Chief Justice Haşim Kılıç has called on courts to comply with a ruling from the Council of State which makes it possible for headscarved lawyers to attend court hearings without the need to remove their scarf.

Speaking to reporters at a reception held in Parliament on Tuesday to mark April 23, National Sovereignty and Children's Day, Kılıç said the Council of State's ruling must be obeyed when he was asked about an İstanbul court's recent resistance to upholding the Council of State's ruling.

He said if that specific case is appealed in a higher court, the necessary response will be given.

In January, the 8th Chamber of the Council of State discussed an appeal filed by a lawyer, Figen Şaştım, who was denied an identity card by the Turkish Bar Association (TBB) after she submitted a photo of herself wearing a headscarf with her application. The lawyer asked the court to suspend the implementation of Article 20 of the TBB's Lawyers Code of Practice, which stipulates that lawyers and legal interns “conduct their profession in court with an appearance that suits their profession and without a headscarf.”

The chamber suspended the application of the “without a headscarf” phrase of the article with a majority vote on the grounds that the article erroneously regards the profession as one of public service that requires lawyers to abide by the rules in place for state employees.

Despite the court's ruling, some headscarved lawyers still face difficulties when they want to attend court hearings without taking off their scarf.

The use of the Muslim headscarf is a matter of contention in Turkey. A headscarf ban for employees is in effect at certain public and government offices. The ban also affects university students in addition to those employed in the public sector.

The headscarf ban at universities was eased after the Higher Education Board (YÖK) sent a circular to universities in 2010 asking them to allow headscarved students into classes. However, there are still some universities and professors who insist on keeping students out.

Last week, Council of State President Hüseyin Karakullukçu also said every court must obey the ruling of the Council of State for lawyers wearing a headscarf.

At the reception, Kılıç was also asked about applications regarding lengthy detention periods. He said the court decides within two to three days whether an application about a lengthy detention period is acceptable.

 

Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2013, 13:50
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