Karnataka High Court upholds ban on hijab in educational institutions
Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court which dismissed a batch of petitions by some Muslim girls from Udupi seeking permission to wear hijab inside classrooms of educational institutions, framed the entire case in the form of four questions and answered them accordingly.
The proceedings had started from February 8, initially by a single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit for two days and then by the full bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Dixit and Justice J M Khazi.
The bench, which heard the case on a day-to-day basis, said it formulated four questions and answered them accordingly taking a holistic view of the entire matter.
The question for considerations were, whether wearing hijab or head-scarf is a part of “essential religious practice” in Islamic faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
“Our answer to the first question is, we are of the considered opinion that the wearing of Hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of Essential Religious Practice in Islamic faith,” the CJ read out from the order.
The second poser was whether prescription of school uniform is not legally permissible, as being violative of petitioners Fundamental Rights inter alia guaranteed under Articles, 19(1)(a) related to the freedom of expression and 21, dealing with privacy, of the Constitution.
“The answer to this question is that we are of the considered opinion that the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to,” the bench said.
Regarding the third question arising out of the petitions, whether the Karnataka government’s order dated February 5, apart from being incompetent, is issued without application of mind and further is manifestly arbitrary and therefore, violates Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution?
The petitioners had challenged quashing the government order which banned wearing any cloth that could disturb peace, harmony and public order.
“We are of the considered opinion that the government has power to issue the impugned Order dated February 5, 2022 and that no case is made out for its invalidation,” the bench noted.
The fourth question was regarding issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondents including the Government PU Girls College in Udupi, its principal and teacher.
“We are of the considered opinion that no case is made out in WP No 2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondent numbers six to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondent numbers 15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable,” the bench said.
Regarding the prayer to initiate an inquiry by the premier investigation agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency, the bench said the writ petitions filed as Public Interest Litigations are liable to be rejected and “absolutely no case having been made out for indulgence”.
“In the above circumstances, all these petitions being devoid of merits, are liable to be and accordingly are dismissed. In view of dismissal of these Writ Petitions, all pending applications pale into insignificance and are accordingly, disposed off,” the bench said.
Hijab row: Udupi Muslim girls say they will not go to college without hijab and fight it legally
The Udupi Muslim girls whose petitions seeking permission to wear Hijab inside the classrooms were dismissed by the Karnataka High Court said on Tuesday they will not go to college without hijab and fight the case legally till they get “justice”.
They also claimed the verdict was ‘unconstitutional’.
“We had approached the High Court seeking permission to wear hijab in the classrooms. The order has come against us. We will not go to the college without hijab but we will fight for it. We will try all the legal ways. We will fight for justice and our rights,” one of the girls said in a press conference in this coastal town.
“The verdict which came today is unconstitutional…the constitution itself provides us (our rights) to follow my religion and whatever I can wear,” the girl stated and also referred to a government order on February 5 banning any cloth that disturbed peace, harmony and public order on the campus.
According to them, the circular came only after they approached the HC.
Accusing the government of ‘creating an issue’ by issuing a circular, the girls alleged it was done to create pressure.
“How much issue they made! Oh my God! They made an issue for all the colleges. They have denied education to all the girls. This was done to create pressure…,” the girl charged.
She reiterated that Hijab was an essential part of her religion.
Hijab ban in classroom: Plea in SC challenges Karnataka HC verdict
A plea was Tuesday filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict which dismissed pleas seeking permission to wear Hijab inside the classroom, saying Hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.
The petition has been filed in the apex court by a Muslim student against the high court judgement.
Earlier in the day, the high court dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi, seeking permission to wear Hijab inside the classroom.
The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction, constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to, the high court said.