Karnataka Hijab Row: Will Hear Hijab Case At Appropriate Time Says, SC

New Delhi: A girl in Karnataka’s Udipi has approached the High court yesterday advised students to avoid wearing “religious garments” until it decides on a case involving hijab restrictions in schools and colleges.

The girl’s petition has been turned out be a challenging one to the Karnataka High Court’s remark on educational institutions in the state can open for now but with no religious clothing on campus, for the sake of peace.

Schools and colleges were shut down earlier this week in an escalating row over hijab restrictions in class. The protests that began against a hijab ban in one government-run college in Udupi spread to many other institutions where girls wearing hijabs were not allowed entry. As saffron scarf-wearing students launched rival protests, violence at one college forced the police to fire teargas to control the flare-up.

The High Court is hearing a petition challenging hijab restrictions in colleges. Yesterday, a three-member bench said it would resume the hearing on Monday.

The student who has challenged the High Court’s comments says in her appeal to the Supreme Court that practical exams begin on February 15 and “any interference on students’ access to educational institutions will impede their education”.

She argues that wearing the hijab is within the constitutional right of expression, right to privacy and “Freedom of Conscience”, so the High Court order violates the constitution.

“The government has issued an order thereby denying entry to the Muslim Women wearing Hijab in the educational institutions. The impugned order creates an unreasonable classification between the non-Muslim female students and the Muslim female students and thereby is in straight violation of the concept of secularism which forms the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. The impugned order is also in sheer violation of Articles 14, 15, 19, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and also violates the core principles of the International Conventions that India is a signatory to,” her appeal to the Supreme Court says.

Another petition filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, by student Fathima Bushra, had challenged the Karnataka government’s order last week banning clothes which it said “disturb equality, integrity and public order”.

“In the event of the administrative committee not selecting a uniform, clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public law and order should not be worn,” the Karnataka government’s order had said.

As Congress leader Kapil Sibal, a senior lawyer, urged the Supreme Court to take up Fathima Bushra’s petition, saying the issue is “spreading across the country”, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said: “We will see.”

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