The Supreme Court has requested the Karnataka government’s answer to petitions filed in response to the High Court’s rejection to overturn a ban on hijab-wearing in educational institutions.
The next hearing was scheduled for September 5, but the bench wasn’t happy about some of the petitioners’ requests for an adjournment after initially requesting an urgent hearing.
“Forum shopping is not permitted. You merely want an immediate hearing. What has altered now?” The bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia made a statement.
According to a ruling made by the Karnataka High Court in March, wearing a hijab is not a fundamental religious practice that is entitled to protection under Article 25 of the Constitution.
A group of Muslim girls from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi had petitioned for permission to wear the hijab in class, but their requests had been denied. Many people and organizations appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.
Several times, these petitions were brought before a bench led by the former Chief Justice NV Ramana for an urgent hearing; nevertheless, the matter was not scheduled for hearing.
However, it was ultimately added to the list during Justice Ramana’s last week in office, and as a result, it was discussed today—the first working day for the court after the swearing-in of the new CJI, UU Lalit.
According to one of the appeals, the government’s “stepmotherly behaviour… hindered students from expressing their beliefs and resulted in an unwelcome law and order crisis.”
The High Court “vehemently failed to apply its intellect and was unable to appreciate the seriousness of the circumstance as well as the basic feature of the Essential Religious Practices established under Article 25 of the Constitution of India,” according to the statement.
It states that wearing a headscarf or hijab is a requirement for practicing Islam.
Six female students wearing the hijab were denied access to Government PU College in Udupi in January, sparking the controversy. It mentioned a standard code. At the campus gate, the young ladies participated in a sit-in.
As a form of retaliation, several Hindu students at other institutions in Udupi began showing up to class wearing saffron scarves.
As the dispute spread to other regions of Karnataka, several Muslim organizations viewed it as an infringement on their rights.
The state government stepped in and mandated that all pupils “adhere to the uniform,” outlawing the saffron and hijab.
The education board issued a February 5 stating that only the institute-approved uniform is permitted for students to wear while attending college.
According to the regulation, students should wear outfits that “go well with the spirit of equality and unity, and do not violate the social order” if management committees do not mandate a uniform.