The Supreme Court said on Wednesday it would be listed for hearing after Holi break appeals challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order which dismissed petitions against the banning of Hijab in educational institutions.
A bench of India’s Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli said he would consider listing pleas after the Holi vacation after lead counsel Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the petitioners, requested an urgent hearing.
“The emergency is that there are several girls who have to attend colleges. List this on Monday,” Hegde said.
To this, the CJI said, “Others have also mentioned. We’ll see, we’ll post the case. Let’s see, we’ll publish the case after the Holi holiday.
Some of the High Court petitioners have gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the order upholding the Karnataka government order which directs the strict enforcement of Uniform School and College Rules.
One of the appeals to the highest court alleged “mother-in-law behavior by government authorities which prevented students from practicing their faith and resulted in an undesirable public order situation”.
The appeal said the High Court, in its contested order, “violently failed to apply its spirit and was unable to appreciate the gravity of the situation as well as the centrality of the essential religious practices enshrined in section 25 of the Constitution of India”.
“Wearing the hijab or headscarf is an essential practice for the practice of Islam,” he added.
A Karnataka High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi said on Tuesday that the uniform requirement is a reasonable restriction which students cannot object to. and rejected various petitions challenging the banning of Hijab in educational institutions saying they are without merit.
The hijab row erupted in January this year when Government PU College, Udupi allegedly banned six hijab-wearing girls from entering. Following this, the girls sat down in protest outside the university after being denied entry.
After that, boys from several colleges in Udupi started attending classes wearing saffron scarves. This protest has also spread to other parts of the state, leading to protests and unrest in several places in Karnataka.
As a result, the Karnataka government declared that all students should adhere to uniform and banned the hijab and saffron headscarves until a committee of experts ruled on the matter.
On February 5, the Board of Pre-College Education issued a circular stating that students could only wear uniforms approved by the school administration and that no other religious attire would be permitted in colleges.
The order stated that in the event that a uniform is not prescribed by management committees, students should wear robes which go well with the idea of equality and unity, and do not disturb the social order.
A batch of petitions have been filed against government rule in the Karnataka High Court by girls seeking permission to wear hijab in educational institutions.
On February 10, the High Court issued an interim order stating that students should not wear any religious attire in class until the court issues the final order. Hearings in the Hijab case ended on February 25 and the court reserved judgment.