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Hijab Row : Supreme Court Slams The Petitioners Says “Won’t Allow Forum Shopping”

Supreme Court on Hijab petitioners
Supreme Court Pulls Up Hijab Case Petitioners For Seeking Adjournment, Posts Case To September 5.


Mumbai: The High Court’s rejection to repeal a prohibition on the hijab ‘s use in educational institutions has been challenged in petitions, and the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Karnataka government’s answer. The next hearing was scheduled for September 5, but the court wasn’t happy about some of the petitioners’ requests for a delay after first requesting an urgent hearing.

“We won’t allow forum shopping. You only wanted an urgent hearing. What changed now?” said the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

According to a ruling made by the Karnataka High Court in March, wearing a hijab is not a fundamental religious practise that is entitled to protection under Article 25 of the Constitution. A group of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi had filed a petition 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 case was not scheduled for hearing. It was ultimately added to the list during Justice Ramana’s final week in office, and as a result, it was discussed today—the first working day for the court following the swearing-in of the new CJI, UU Lalit.

One of the appeals says “step-motherly behaviour of government authorities… prevented students from practising their faith and resulted in an unwanted law and order situation”.

It says the High Court “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 says.

The hijab controversy started in January when six female students wearing the hijab were denied entry to the campus by Government PU College in Udupi. It mentioned a standard code. At the campus gate, the young women participated in a sit-in.

As a sort of retaliation, some Hindu students at other colleges in Udupi began showing up to class wearing saffron scarves.

As the dispute moved to other regions of Karnataka, several Muslim organisations viewed it as an infringement on their rights.

The state government stepped in and mandated that all pupils “adhere to the uniform,” thereby outlawing the saffron and hijab.

The education board issued a circular on February 5 stating that only the institute-approved uniform is permitted for students to wear while attending college.

In the event that management committees do not specify a uniform, the directive said that students should wear dresses that “go well with the idea of equality and unity, and do not disturb the social order”.

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