Hijab Case: Ban On Hijab To Continue In Educational Institutes in K’taka

Hijab Case: Ban On Hijab To Continue In Educational Institutes in K’taka
Hijab Case: Ban On Hijab To Continue In Educational Institutes in K’taka

Bengaluru (Karnataka): Karnataka government on Thursday said High Court’s order upholding the ban on hijab in educational institutions in the state will continue pending a final decision in the Supreme Court, which today pronounced a split verdict on appeals challenging the restriction on girls and women wearing the headscarves in schools and colleges.

State education minister BC Nagesh said that the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in the state will remain for now.

Shortly after the Supreme Court delivered its split verdict, the minister said “we expect a better judgement” stating that women worldwide are demanding to not wear hijab and burqa.

“As a democratic government, we welcome whatever order we have received from the honourable Supreme Court. But we expected a better judgment because as you know – throughout the world – women are demanding not to wear hijab and burka,” BC Nagesh said addressing a press conference today.

“We welcome the Supreme Court verdict. Karnataka HC order remains applicable in the interim time. Theban on wearing of hijab in educational institutions of the state remains,’ Nagesh said.

When asked about organisations supporting the wearing of the hijab in educational institutions, the Karnataka minister said: “They will always want to split this society. They are using hijab to split the society.”

A two-judge bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia pronounced the judgement today.

While Justice Hemant Gupta stated that was a “divergence of opinion” as he dismissed the bunch of petitions against the March 15 Karnataka High Court order on the hijab matter, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the appeals and set aside the HC verdict.

“It’s a matter of choice, nothing more nothing less,” Justice Dhulia said while pronouncing the order.

Justice Gupta said, “There is a divergence of opinion. In my order, I have framed 11 questions. First is whether the appeal should be referred to the Constitution Bench.”

Advocate Ezaz Maqbool, representing the petitioner said that the matter will be placed before the Chief Justice of India and he will decide whether a new bench will hear the matter or the matter gets referred to a larger bench.

The apex court had earlier reserved its order on various petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court upholding the ban on hijab in educational institutes.

The arguments in the matter went on for 10 days in which 21 lawyers from the petitioners’ side and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi argued for the respondents.

The court was hearing various pleas challenging the Karnataka HC’s judgement upholding the Karnataka Government’s decision to direct educational institutes to prescribe uniforms in educational institutes.

One of the appeals in the top court had alleged “step-motherly behaviour of government authorities which has prevented students from practising their faith and resulted in an unwanted law and order situation”.

The appeal said the High Court in its impugned order “had vehemently failed to apply its mind and was unable to understand the gravity of the situation as well as the core aspect of the Essential Religious Practices enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution of India”.

A bench of Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit, and Justice JM Khazi had earlier held that the prescription of uniform is a reasonable restriction that students could not object to and dismissed various petitions challenging a ban on hijab in education institutions saying they are without merit.

The hijab row erupted in January this year when the Government PU College in Udupi allegedly barred six girls wearing the hijab from entering. Following this, the girls sat in protest outside the college over being denied entry.

After this, boys of several colleges in Udupi started attending classes wearing saffron scarves.

This protest spread to other parts of the state as well leading to protests and agitations in several places in Karnataka.

As a result, the Karnataka government said that all students must adhere to the uniform and banned both hijab and saffron scarves till an expert committee decided on the issue.

On February 5, the pre-University education board released a circular stating that the students could only wear the uniform approved by the school administration and no other religious attire would be allowed in colleges.


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