Hijab non-essential part of Islam, ban on Hijab in educational institutions to continue : Karnataka HC

Editorial Comment

As it is, the Courts in India are burdened with lakhs of cases which remain unresolved for decades. To add another frivolous case to these on an Issue that is (mis)interpreted for the benefit of one community and adversely affect the whole country, is criminal.

Bengaluru – The Karnataka high Court ruled that wearing the Hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and upheld a State Government order on uniform in educational institutions, dismissing a batch of petitions saying not being allowed to wear headscarves in class violates fundamental rights.

A three-Judge full Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi rejected the plea that the ban violates rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (no discrimination over faith), 19 (freedom of speech & expression), 21 (protection of life & personal liberty) and 25 (freedom of religion). It dismissed petitions filed by students from Udupi, Kundapur, Bengaluru and a couple of PILs that had set off a nationwide debate.

“Whichever be the religion, whatever is stated in the Scriptures, does not become per se mandatory in a wholesale way. That is how the concept of essential religious practice is coined”, the HC verdict said. “If everything were to be essential to the religion logically, this very concept would not have taken birth. It is on this premise the Supreme Court in Shayara Bano case, proscribed the 1400-year-old pernicious practice of triple talaq in Islam. What is made recommendatory by the Holy Quran can’t be metamorphosed into mandatory dicta by a hadith which is treated as supplementary to the Scripture. A contra argument offends the very logic of Islamic jurisprudence and normative hierarchy of sources”.

On the petitioners’ argument that the ban hurt their conscience, the Court said : “Whether conscience the petitioners had and how they developed it are not averred in the petition with material particulars. Merely stating that wearing Hijab is an overt act of conscience and therefore, asking them to remove Hijab would offend conscience, would not be sufficient for treating it as a ground for granting relief.”

The Court held in its 129-page judgment that the prescription of school uniform is a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible to which the students cannot object.

Plea against school staff, CDC rejected

The Bench rejected pleas in the petition filed by the Udupi college students for disciplinary action against the Principal, lecturers and staff of their institution and also for removal of the College Development Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

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