Full-body swimwear including burkinis should not be worn in public pools in the city of Grenoble, France’s top administrative court ruled on Tuesday, upholding an earlier order by a lower court.
“The new rules of procedure for the municipal swimming pools of Grenoble affect (…) the proper functioning of the public service, and rules the equal treatment of users, so that the neutrality of public service is compromised,” the Conseil d’ Etat said.
Body-covering swimwear – which leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed – is often worn by Muslim women who wish to preserve their modesty in accordance with their beliefs.
Grenoble’s city council had voted in favor of allowing the use of burkinis on 16 May, sparking howls of protest from conservative and far-right politicians.
The city’s move was challenged by the government and a lower administrative court suspended the measure. Grenoble responded by taking its legal fight to the Conseil d’Etat.
After the Conseil d’Etat’s ruling, the interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said Grenoble’s act had been “definitively overruled”. It was “a victory for our ‘separatism’ law, for secularism and above all for the Republic”, Darmanin said.