SC Reserves Order On Pleas Challenging Karnataka HC's Order Banning Hijab In Educational Institutions

Several petitioners have petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the Karnataka High Court's order upholding the Karnataka government's order directing strict enforcement of uniform rules in schools and colleges.

By Shivam Shandilya
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 05:29 PM IST
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SC Reserves Order On Pleas Challenging Karnataka HC's Order Banning Hijab In Educational Institutions
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The Supreme Court reserved its judgement on Thursday on several petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court's decision to uphold a ban on Hijab in educational institutions.

After the parties on both sides concluded their arguments, a bench of justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia reserved their judgement.

The petitioner's lawyers argued for 10 days in this matter, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, and Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi argued for the respondents.

The court was hearing several pleas against the Karnataka HC's judgment upholding the state government's decision to direct educational institutes to prescribe uniforms in educational institutes.

Addressing the court, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, in his rejoinder submission said that the Karnataka Government Circular which enforced a dress code has no reference to the Popular Front of India. Senior Advocate Dave was representing the petitioner.

Countering the submission of the respondent, the petitioner's lawyer Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid said that the respondent's arguments mentioned the examples of France and Turkey. Khurshid further said that anything that expresses religious belief is not allowed to be displayed in public including a cross.

Several petitioners have petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the Karnataka High Court's order upholding the Karnataka government's order directing strict enforcement of uniform rules in schools and colleges.

One of the appeals in the top court had alleged "step-motherly behaviour of the 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".

A Karnataka High Court bench comprised of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit, and Justice JM Khazi previously held that the prescription of the uniform is a reasonable restriction to which students cannot object and dismissed various petitions challenging a ban on Hijab in educational institutions as being without merit.

The Hijab controversy erupted in January of this year when the Government PU College in Udupi allegedly denied entry to six girls wearing the hijab. Following that, the girls sat in protest outside the college after being denied entry.

Following this, boys from several colleges in Udupi began wearing saffron scarves to class. This protest spread to other parts of the state, resulting in massive agitations in several Karnataka cities.

As a result, the Karnataka government mandated that all students wear the uniform and prohibited both hijab and saffron scarves until an expert committee ruled on the matter.

The Pre-University Education Board issued a circular on February 5 stating that students could only wear the uniform approved by the school administration and that no other religious attire would be permitted in colleges.

(With Inputs From ANI)

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