SC hearing on hijab: K’taka govt cites protests in Iran

SC hearing on hijab: K’taka govt cites protests in Iran

New Delhi: Citing the anti-hijab protests by women in Iran, Karnataka government on Tuesday said its order against wearing of hijab in educational institutions implementing dress code is not violative of right to speech and asserts hojab is not an essential religious practice in Islam.
“There are instances where women in Islamic countries like Iran are fighting against hijab. So, it is not an essential religious practice. A mention in the Quran will not make it essential, it may be a permissible or ideal practice, but not essential,” the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted to an apex court bench.
The protests in Iran were triggered after the death of Mahsa Amini after she was beaten up and detained by morality police in Tehran for nor wearing hijab. The 22-year-old woman died in hospital on September 16.
Solicitor General Mehta made these submissions before an apex court bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia, which is hearing a batch of petitions against the Karnataka High Court’s March verdict in favour of Karnataka government’s order.
The pro-hijab petitioners approached the top court challenging Karnataka HC’s order on several grounds, and contended that the right to dress is part of the right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Resuming the hearing, Mehta submitted that radical Islamist outfit the Popular Front of India influenced the pro-hijab petitioners and it was a part a conspiracy.
He further argued that the High Court could have avoided going into the question of whether the hijab is an essential religious practice but addressed the issue only because the petitioners had raised it.
Mehta submitted that the dress code in vogue is to ensure striking off disparity and maintain discipline among students. It was intended to ban all religious clothing and did not make an exception for the hijab, he said.
“Discipline cannot depend upon the institution. Discipline expected from me as a member of the bar is the same as the discipline expected from a student or doctor as far as uniform is concerned. Level of punishment may differ, but the threshold doesn’t change,” Mehta submitted.
UNI

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