Arguments can't be taken to illogical ends: Supreme Court in hijab case : The Tribune India

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Arguments can't be taken to illogical ends: Supreme Court in hijab case

If there’s right to dress, why not right to undress, asks top court

Arguments can't be taken to illogical ends: Supreme Court in hijab case

Questioning the line of arguments of the petitioners in the Karnataka school hijab ban case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked them not to take it to illogical ends. - File photo



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 7

Questioning the line of arguments of the petitioners in the Karnataka school hijab ban case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked them not to take it to illogical ends.

“We can’t take it to illogical ends. If you say right to dress is a fundamental right then right to undress also becomes a fundamental right,” a Bench led by Justice Hemant Gupta told senior counsel Devdatt Kamat, representing one of the petitioners.

On the second day of hearing on petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court’s March 15 verdict upholding the ban on hijab in schools in the state, Kamat questioned the Karnataka Government’s order for lack of reasonable accommodation for students exercising fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and right to religion. He cited foreign judgments to support his contention.

The Constitution envisaged “positive secularism” and not “negative secularism” as practised by France where no religious symbol was allowed to be displayed in public, Kamat submitted. He contended that the right to dress had been recognised by the Supreme Court under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution as a part of freedom of speech and expression.

The Bench, which also included Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, said the problem was that one community was insisting on wearing a headscarf while all others followed the prescribed uniform, posting the matter for further hearing on Thursday.

Kamat said all religions were the manifestation of the one and the same supreme power. There was only God and learned people described Him differently, he said, quoting from the top court’s verdict in Aruna Roy’s case. “Do all religions accept this? Is that stream of thought accepted by all religions?” asked the Bench.

He sought to impress upon the Bench by arguing that the petitioners didn’t challenge the dress code and that they have sought to be accommodated by seeking to use hijab or headscarf. Even students from other faiths used ‘tilak’, ‘rudraksh’ and ‘cross’ etc. along with the school dress, he added.

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