Hijab Row: Matter to Go to CJI Now

Hijab Row: The stalemate in the Hijab row continued as the Supreme Court pronounced a split verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court judgment refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.

While Justices Hemant Gupta upheld the decision of the Karnataka High Court and proposed to dismiss all appeals, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia was in favor of allowing all appeals and setting aside the judgment of the Karnataka HC.

The matter will be referred to a larger Supreme Court bench now.

On March 15, the high court dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students of the Government Pre-University Girls College in Karnataka’s Udupi seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling it is not a part of the essential religious practice in the Islamic faith.

During the arguments in the apex court, a number of the counsel appearing for the petitioners had insisted that preventing Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to the classroom will put their education in jeopardy as they might stop attending classes. Counsel for the petitioners had argued on various aspects, including on the state government’s February 5, 2022 order which banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

Some advocates had also argued that the matter is referred to a five-judge constitution bench. On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the state had argued that the Karnataka government order that kicked up a row over hijab was “religion-neutral”.

Insisting that the agitation in support of wearing hijab in educational institutions was not a “spontaneous act” by a few individuals, the state’s counsel had argued in the apex court that the government would have been “guilty of dereliction of constitutional duty” if it had not acted the way it did.

The state government’s order of February 5, 2022, was challenged by some Muslim girls in the high court. Several pleas have been filed in the apex court challenging the high court verdict.


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