(Hijab Ban) Karnataka HC hears petitions by Muslim girl students: Know Key Events

(Hijab Ban) Karnataka HC hears petitions by Muslim girl students: Know Key Events

The Karnataka High Court has heard the appeal of the students and people to maintain peace and tranquility as the Hijab Ban controversy intensified in the state. The court posted the matter for today.

The single bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit was hearing the petitions filed by some students studying in a Government Pre-University College for Girls in the coastal town of Udupi. 

The fourt petitions were file assailing the action of educational institutions stopping female Muslim students from attending classes on the ground that they wear a hijab.

The petitioners contended that the institutions are discriminating against the petitioners and other female Muslim students by denying them entry on the sole ground of them wearing a hijab.

Background 

A section of Muslim girls are demanding permission wearing headscarves to college, while the state government has cracked the whip making uniforms mandatory for students attending classes in educational institutions. There have been several instances during the last few days, especially in coastal Karnataka, where some Muslim girl students, turning up in hijab, were not being allowed into classes, and Hindu boys and girls responding with saffron shawls, also being barred from classes.

The issue that initially began in January at a Government PU College in Udupi where six students who attended classes wearing headscarves in violation of the stipulated dress code were sent out, has spread to a few other colleges in the city and in nearby Kundapur and Byndoor.

State education Minister CT Ravi has maintained the government stand of not allowing hijabs, saying schools and colleges should have a uniform code. In a tweet on Tuesday, Ravi said “Those who did not shed a tear for the brilliant Tamil Nadu student #Lavanya are crying for some FOOLS whose only aim in life is to wear Hijab to college.”

Protests erupted at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi today after a large group of students wearing saffron stoles and headgears raised slogans in the college campus as hijab clad Muslim girls were staging a protest “demanding justice”, forcing the police and college authorities to intervene. 

According to police sources, a minor stone pelting incident was reported near a college in Bagalkote and few students even tried to barge into the campus, whom police dispersed using mild force. A similar incident was also reported at a college in Shivamogga district, and police had to intervene to bring the situation under control, the sources added.

State’s Argument

State says it has not intervened in the matter.  “We have given autonomy to the College Development Committees to decide the uniform and the students will abide by it,” Advocate General stated.

Advocate General says if students want relaxation, they should approach the College Development Committee for the same.

Arguments of Behalf of Petitioners

Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat stated that Wearing of head scarf (not burqa or veil) is an essential part of Islamic religion.

It is an essential religious practice as prescribed by holy Quran. All the decisions cited by them – Madras, Bombay and Kerala – don’t deal with this issue at all: Kamat

It was further highlighted that wearing of hijab is protected by right to expression under Article 19(1)(a) and can be restricted only on grounds under Article 19(6).

The counsel said, wearing hijab is a facet of right to privacy recognised as part of Article 21 by Puttaswamy judgment of Supreme Court.

The government order is outside the scope of Karnataka Education Rules and State has no jurisdiction to issue the same: Kamat

What is Court’s Decision?

The Justice Krishna S Dixit sated that “keep all emotions aside. We will go by what constitution says. Constitution is above Bhagwad Geeta for me. I will go by the oath I have taken to the Constitution.”

The Court wanted to confirm whether the copy of the Quran furnished to the judge by the library is an authenticated version.

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