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2010-03-01 - Council of State, n. 337079

Public space · France · Dress code

Legality of the candidature to a regional election of a woman wearing the Islamic headscarf

Key facts of the case - The association named Arab Women’s Solidarity Association – France (AWSA) lodged an appeal with the summary applications judge of the administrative Court of Marseille to obtain the annulment of the prefect decision authorizing an electoral list to take part in the regional elections, under Article L. 521-2 of the code of administrative justice. Those provisions allow the administrative judge to suspend an administrative decision that would be contrary to a fundamental freedom. The applicant seeks to prevent a female candidate wearing the Islamic headscarf to be on this list.
Referring to the right to apply for an election the judge overturned its application. The association made an appeal before the Council of State.

Main reasoning of the court - Before the Council of State, the applicant argues that the first judge made the religious freedom of the candidate prevail over the principle of laïcité, the Separation between State and Churches Act and the European Convention of Human Rights, here infringed through the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by a candidate to a public mandate.
According to the Council of State, even, if it was not challenged that the candidate wore a headscarf, the first judge rightly deemed that the prefect decision did not infringe any fundamental freedom.

See the decision: Council of State, 2010-03-01, n. 337079.