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What is Supreme court verdict in Karnataka Hijab ban case?

What is Supreme court verdict in Karnataka Hijab ban case?

The judges of the Supreme Court have different opinions on the hijab and now the matter will go to the larger bench. Now the hearing of the hijab case will be done by a bigger bench. Supreme Court Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia were hearing the matter. Justice Gupta said that we have different views, so this matter is being sent to the Chief Justice so that he can constitute a bigger bench.

Justice Gupta upholds the Karnataka government circular enforcing uniforms and banning all religious dresses, including hijab. He dismissed the appeals.

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the appeals and set aside the Karnataka High Court order.  “It’s a matter of choice, nothing more, nothing less, says Justice Dhulia while pronouncing the order,” he said. 

After this, challenging this decision of the Karnataka High Court in the Supreme Court, a special leave petition was filed on behalf of the girl students.

“The main thrust of my judgment is that this entire concept of essential religious practices, in my opinon, was not essential to the disposal of the dispute. And the Court probably took a wrong path there. It was simply a question of Article 19(1)(a) and 25(1). It is ultimately a matter of choice. Nothing more, nothing less. I have also held the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Bijoe Emmanuel squarely covers the issue. The thing which was uppermost in mind was the education of girl child. It is a common knowledge that a girl child primarily in rural and semi-rural areas has a lot of difficulties, they have to do daily chores before she goes to school. There are other difficulties as well. Are we making her life any better?. That was also a question in my mind”.-

Justice Dhulia

However, Judge Dhulia stated that the High Court’s decision should be reconsidered. She rescinded the Government Order that led to the Hijab Ban. She stated that the cause of the girl’s education weighed heavily on her mind as she wrote her opinion. In particular, Judge Dhulia stated that the High Court “took the wrong way” by basing her decision on the essentiality of the hijab for Islam. Instead, equality and free speech should have been the focus, she said. “It’s a matter of choice, nothing more and nothing less,” she said.

This two-judge bench spent 24 hours over nine days hearing arguments on the hijab ban. A split verdict means that these hearings were inconclusive.

The matter started in July last year. A junior college in Karnataka’s Udupi district had barred female students from wearing hijab to school.

On 01 July 2021, the Government PU College for Girls decided what kind of dress would be accepted as college uniform and said that it is mandatory for girl students to follow the guidelines.

When the school reopened after the Covid lockdown, some girl students came to know that their seniors used to come wearing hijabs. These girl students sought permission from the college administration to wear hijab on this basis.

The college development committee decides the dress of government junior colleges in the Udupi district and is headed by the local MLA.

BJP MLA Raghuveer Bhatt did not accept the demand of Muslim girl students and they were not allowed to wear hijab inside the class. In December 2021, the girl students tried to enter the campus wearing hijab but were stopped outside.

After this, these girls started protesting against the college administration and in January 2022 they filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court against the ban on hijab.

This case started in the Udupi district but soon spread like wildfire in other districts as well. In Shivamogga and Belagavi districts, Muslim girl students coming to college wearing hijab were also banned.

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