Hijab ban issue: SC to decide on urgent listing of Muslim students’ plea

New Delh:  Supreme Court on Wednesday assured that it will “take a call” on listing an application seeking permission for hijab clad girls to take their examinations in Karnataka Government run institutions from March 9 onwards.

A bench of the Top Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chadrachud, said, he will look into the plea for setting up a 3-judge bench.

A group of girl students from Karnataka mentioned the matter before the Apex Court bench, headed by the CJI, seeking an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court to let them sit for the examinations in government institutions wearing the hijab. Examinations are beginning from Mar 9.

Lawyer Shadan Farasat, appeared for the group of girl students from Karnataka, and mentioned the matter before the Apex Coirt for an urgent listing and hearing to the case.

“Why are they prevented from taking the examination?”, the CJI asked Farasat.

To this, he replied, “Because they are wearing headscarfs”.

The CJI assured Farasat then, “I will take a call on this”.

A similar plea was also made in the Top Court on Janaury 23, by lawyer, Meenakshi Arora, for some petitioners, had sought interim direction in the matter. She had told the court that since the examinations are going to be conducted in the govt institutions, those wearing hijab may not be able to take the exams. To which, the CJI had said he would examine the matter for fixing an hearing.

Arora had sought setting up a 3-judge bench in view of the split verdict. She cited urgency in view of exams from February 06.

The Top Court had said that he will examine the matter, as it has to be placed before a bench of 3 judges and asked to submit a short note to the registrar.

The Supreme Court’s two-judge bench had on October 13, last year, delivered a split verdict in the Hijab ban case, and it had referred the matter now to the Chief Justice of India’s (CJI) court for his direction to constitute a larger bench to decide the issue.

A Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna Dixit and Justice J M Khazi, in their judgement on March 15, 2022, held that wearing of hijab by women was not an essential religi practice of Islam.

The High Court of Karnataka’s three-judge bench, had passed the judgment on March 15, and dismissed the petitions filed by a group of muslim girl students against PU government college for denying them entry while wearing Hijab.

The High Court bench led by Chief Justice Rituraj Awasthi dismissed the petition stating that the practice of hijab is not an essential practice under islam and thus does not fall within the ambit of Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

The High court had also held that prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction which is constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to and stated that the government had the power to issue such notification and that no case was made out against the government notification.


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