New Delhi, March 15
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday upheld the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in the state, saying wearing hijab is not an essential practice of Islam.
“No case is made out for invalidating the government order of February 5,” a Full Bench led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said.
The Bench -- which also included Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Jaibunnisa M Khazi -- rejected the petitions filed by some Muslim girls challenging ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka.
Upholding the government’s power to issue ‘Government Order’ (GO) on the issue, the high court said prescribing school uniforms was a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and students couldn’t object to it.
The Bench had reserved the verdict on February 25 after 11 days of marathon live streamed hearing.
The Bench had heard at length several senior advocates for the petitioners and Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi, besides some advocates representing teachers and College Development Committees having local MLAs as their members.
Set up on February 9, the Chief Justice Awasthi-led Bench heard on a day-to-day basis for 11 days petitions filed by some girl students challenging the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions where a particular uniform has been prescribed.
The Karnataka High Court had on February 10 restrained students from going to educational institutions wearing religious dress. The Supreme Court had refused to intervene in the hijab controversy even as it asserted that it will protect the constitutional rights of everyone and will take up the matter at the appropriate time.
The petitioners were allegedly denied entry into a pre-university college for girls in Udupi in December last for violating the dress code.
The State Government had insisted that the state high court must decide if hijab was an essential practice of Islam, saying it’s important to decide the issue, as the petitioners have asserted it as a part of their right to religion.
Several Muslim girls had challenged the Karnataka government's February 5 order restricting students from wearing clothes that could disturb peace, harmony and law and order.
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