In their ruling, three senior judges said the ban on burkini (increasingly popular swimwear of Muslim women) “has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
PARIS — France’s highest administrative court has ruled that “burkini bans” being enforced on the country’s beaches are illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties.
The State Council (Conseil d’Etat) was specifically examining laws brought in by the commune of Villeneuve-Loubet but its verdict sets a legal precedent for France.
In their ruling, three senior judges said the ban “has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”
They found that no evidence produced in favor of the prohibition proved a risk to public order was being caused by “the outfits worn by some people to go swimming”
In a judgement expected to set a precedent, the State Council ruled that local authorities could only restrict individual liberties if there was a “proven risk” to public order.
The case before the court concerned the French Riviera resort of Villeneuve-Loubet, one of around 30 towns which have passed burkini bans.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) hailed the ruling as “a victory for common sense”.
Police have fined Muslim women for wearing burkinis on beaches in towns including in the renowned Riviera resorts of Nice and Cannes.
Earlier this week, a woman was forced to remove a part of her clothing on a beach in Nice by armed police officers after a ban on the ‘burkini’ swimsuit was enforced, a series of photos that emerged online Wednesday showed.
Nice last week became the latest French seaside resort to ban the burkini, the body-concealing Islamic swimsuit that has sparked heated debate in secular France.
The photos showed French police officers confronting a woman resting on a beach at Nice’s Promenade des Anglais and asking her to remove what they consider to be a burkini.