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SC Reserves Petitions Challenging Ban On Hijab; Here Is All That Happened In The Case


On 31st January 2022, Muslim students filed a Writ Petition at the Karnataka High Court challenging the ban on the hijab.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on various petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court order upholding the ban on hijab in educational institutes.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Muslim appellants in the top Court, said, “For those who are believers it (hijab) is essential. For those who are not believers, it’s not essential.”

Earlier the Karnataka High Court had upheld a Karnataka government order on March 15, authorizing government colleges in the state to ban the wearing of hijab by Muslim girl students in college campuses.

It all began when a few students in Udupi Government Pre-University College started wearing hijab on January 1 2022 and were not allowed to enter the classrooms. While the students refused to attend classes without hijab, the college administration remained adamant on its stance.

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The controversy escalated after some students sought to defy the government order mandating a uniform style of clothes. Soon students of the right wing started wearing orange shawls countering hijab.

On 31st January 2022, Muslim students filed a Writ Petition at the Karnataka High Court challenging the ban on the hijab.

On February 5, the Karnataka government entered the scenario, when the state government issued an Order prohibiting students from wearing hijabs in State educational institutions.5 days later, a three-Judge Bench of the Karnataka High Court issued an Interim Order barring all religious symbols, including hijabs and saffron shawls in the classroom.

On March 15, The Karnataka HC issued a Judgment upholding the ban on the hijab in the State’s educational institutions. The three-judge bench held that allowing Muslim women to wear the hijab in classrooms would hinder their emancipation and go against the constitutional spirit of “positive secularism”.

“There is sufficient intrinsic material within the scripture itself to support the view that wearing hijab has been only recommendatory, if at all it is. What is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in court,” the HC judgement said.

The petitioners had challenged the verdict,  saying that, a February order by the government prescribing uniforms in educational institutions violated their constitutional rights.

The HC, however, said the order was valid, holding that the government had the right to prescribe uniforms for students.

Even for students who were about to appear for their board examinations, the Karnataka government refused to compromise on the hijab ban.

“There won’t be any concession. The students must follow the high court’s judgment. No one will be allowed to take their exams with their hijabs. If the students realize their mistake, they will be allowed to take supplementary exams two months after the board exams, but again, without the hijab”, Karnataka state minister had said to NDTV.

The case was later listed in the Supreme court and was heard by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia started hearing a batch of petitions challenging the ban on wearing Hijab in educational institutions.

After 10 hearings, the top court reserved its judgment on the petitions challenging the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutes in Karnataka.

“Now it is time for us to do our homework and reading,”  the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia said while reserving its verdict.

More than 20 lawyers, including senior advocates Rajiv Dhavan, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Devdatt Kamat, and Sanjay Hegde, among others, submitted arguments on behalf of the petitioners.

The state was represented by Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, ASG KM Nataraj, and Karnataka Advocate General Prabhulinga Navadgi.

Meanwhile, thousands of women in Iran are burning their hijab displaying their outrage against the death of Mahsa Amini.

Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran by morality police – a dedicated unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, such as wearing hijab and allegedly wearing an inappropriate hijab. CCTV footage of the event, released later by the Tehran police, shows her collapsing to the ground at the moment of her arrest. Witnesses allege she was beaten by the patrol in the van, which was intending to take her to a detention centre.



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