Hindu Student’s Nose Stud Lands Her in Court in Durban

April 24, 2006

Source: Cape Times


On April 24, 2006 the Cape Times reported, "The tiny gold stud in schoolgirl Sunali Pillay's nose was the focus of another court hearing on Friday when two judges, sitting in Pietermaritzburg, heard arguments for and against her being allowed to continue wearing it at school. Pillay, 16, who is in matric at Durban Girls' High School, was threatened with suspension from the school after having the nose-stud inserted about 18 months ago. She claimed it was a cultural and religious practice, which had been adopted by South Indian Hindu women, and especially females in her family, for hundreds of years. But the school said it viewed the stud as a fashion item and other pupils would complain if Pillay were allowed to wear it, and they were not. Pillay's mother Navi Pillay, took the matter to Durban's Equality Court last year, claiming that her daughter was being unfairly discriminated against. She lost that battle, the magistrate ruling that the school had acted within its code of conduct and that allowing individual learners at the school to exercise individual choices could create disorder. Assisted by Lawyers for Human Rights, Pillay appealed the decision and the matter came before Judge President Vuka Tshabalala and Judge Shyam Gayanda on Friday."