Hijab ban forcing Muslim girls to leave school, petitioner tells SC : The Tribune India

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Hijab ban forcing Muslim girls to leave school, petitioner tells SC



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, September 14

The Karnataka Government order banning hijab in schools will sound a death knell for Muslim girl students who have been able to break stereotypes and go to schools albeit with a head scarf, petitioners told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“The order, by disallowing the hijab, creates an arbitrary barrier for education and fraternity. The government order infringes upon the promise of ‘fraternity’ made in the Preamble,” senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi told a Bench led by Justice Hemant Gupta, which will resume the hearing on Thursday.

“Legitimate state interest was in encouraging education, particularly in the case of minors. Restrictive practices will result in increased dropouts. Therefore, the government order was opposed both to legitimate state interest and public interest,” Ahmadi told the Bench, which also included Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia.

The petitioners have challenged the Karnataka High Court’s March 15 verdict upholding the ban on hijab in schools in the state.

Noting that the right to dress was part of free speech, senior counsel Rajiv Dhavan said it’s only subject to public order. He said if something was done according to tenets of a faith, without bad faith or mala fide the court simply needed to consider if the practice of wearing hijab was prevalent, and if yes, it should be allowed. On the fifth day of hearing, senior Advocate Aditya Sondhi said a very heavy burden has been cast on Muslim girl students i.e. to choose between their faith and education. “The students are compelled to choose, and they are forced out of education,” Sondhi told the Bench.

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