The decision is sure to revive the political debate. The administrative court of Grenoble suspended, Wednesday, May 25, the provision voted by the town hall of Grenoble authorizing the wearing of the burkini in municipal swimming pools. The court found that this measure “seriously undermined the principle of public service neutrality”. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Grenoble, the burkini is authorized in municipal swimming pools after a long debate on secularism Seized by the Isère prefecture, under the “secularism referred” procedure, the Administrative Court therefore complied with the request of the Ministry of the Interior. And this on a point of detail of clothing, which the president had raised at the very end of the hearing. The burkini “frees itself from the common rules” Jean-Paul Wyss had wondered about the exact constitution of the burkini, in particular on the floating part of this swimsuit. This remark raised the contradiction with the new regulation which recommends outfits in specific fabrics, “close to the body”. A contradiction that makes the court think that the burkini “is freed from common rules”. “By allowing users of the municipal public service of the Grenoble swimming pools to wear “non-fitting” outfits, on the sole condition that they are shorter than mid-thigh – as is the case in particular with bathing called burkini -, that is to say by derogating from the general rule of obligation to wear close-fitting outfits to allow certain users to free themselves from this rule for religious purposes, as it is also recognized in the writings of the municipality, the authors of the disputed deliberation have seriously undermined the principle of neutrality of public service, ”say the three administrative judges, in the order that Le Monde was able to consult. “While users of the public service can freely express, within the limits set by law, their religious affiliation, the provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution prohibit anyone from taking advantage of their beliefs in order to free themselves from the common rules organizing and ensuring the proper functioning of public services”, considers the administrative court of Grenoble. The City now has fifteen days to appeal the decision to the Council of State. “Community demands” for the prefecture Very controversial, the text, which de facto authorizes the wearing of the burkini – but also the anti-UV jersey for all as well as topless swimming for women – had been adopted by a narrow majority, and was to come into effect on June 1. Some allies of the environmental mayor Eric Piolle have disassociated themselves from the project, against the backdrop of a national political storm. The prefect explained that he had received instructions from the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, relating to the seizure of the court in the event of the adoption of the new regulation. Read also: Swimming pools: secularism without naivety or hostility He considered that his “manifest objective is to give in to communitarian demands with religious aims [et qu’il] appears to contravene the principle of secularism laid down by the law of 1905 as well as the provisions of the law of August 24, 2021 confirming respect for the principles of the Republic”. The municipal opposition, which also filed an appeal before the same court, said on Tuesday that it intended “in the event of rejection of the request (…), to develop all the other means of law which justify the suspension and the cancellation of this decision” at a hearing scheduled for May 31. Richard Schittly (Lyon, correspondent) (with AFP)
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