The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a batch of appeals challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order which had upheld the state government’s order to ban hijabs in school and college classrooms.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia will hear the pleas tomorrow, the first working day of the new Chief Justice of India UU Lalit.
Earlier, the pleas were mentioned before a bench headed by the then CJI NV Ramana for urgent hearing on several occasions but the case was not listed for hearing.
The appeals were filed in the top court challenging the order upholding the Karnataka government’s order which directed strict enforcement of schools and colleges’ uniform rules.
One of the appeals in the top court has 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”.
“Wearing of Hijab or headscarf is a practice that is essential to the practice of Islam,” it has added.
Karnataka High Court in March had held that the prescription of uniforms 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 had 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 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 decides on the issue.
On February 5, the pre-University education board released a circular stating that the students can only wear the uniform approved by the school administration and that no other religious attire will be allowed in colleges.
The order stated that in case a uniform is not prescribed by management committees, then students should wear dresses that go well with the idea of equality and unity, and do not disturb the social order.
A batch of appeals was filed against the government’s rule in the Karnataka High Court by some girls seeking permission to wear the hijab in educational institutions.
On February 10, the High Court had issued an interim order stating that students should not wear any religious attire to classes till the court issues the final order. The hearings related to the Hijab case were concluded on February 25 and the court had reserved its judgement.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by LOKJANTA STAFF staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)