Hijab ban case: Supreme Court issues notice to Karnataka govttext_fields
New Delhi: After a fairly long wait for the petitioners, the Supreme Court on Monday sought its response from the Karnataka government to the petitions against Karnataka High Court's refusal to lift a ban on wearing of the hijab in educational institutions.
The bench set the next hearing of the case for September 5. However mid-way during the hearing on Monday, the bench, comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia expressed its displeasure at some of the petitioners seeking adjournment after first asking for urgent hearing.
The Karnataka High Court, in March, held that wearing of hijab is not an essential pratice prescribed in Islam and therefore does not deserve protection under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The High Court decided this while considering the plea by several Muslims students from Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi, for permission to wear hijab inside classroom.
In addition to the girls affected, a number of individuals and organisations went to the Supreme Court against the verdict, as a matter affecting their right to practise religion, and in protest against institutions imposing a restriction that they considered avoidable.
Although the case was brought up before a bench headed by the then Chief Justice NV Ramana for urgent hearing on several occasions, it ws not listed until last week, also the last week of CJI Ramana.
The case up in the apex court on the first day in office of the new Chief Justice of India UU Lalit.
The petitions argue that "wearing of hijab or headscarf is a practice that is essential to the practice of Islam," and therefore cannot be banned in schools and colleges.
Following the ban first imposed in a government institution in Udupi, Karnataka, on February 5, the Karanataka education board released a circular that students can only wear the uniform approved by the institute and that no other religious attire will be allowed in colleges.
The order stated that in case a uniform is not prescribed by management committees, students should wear dresses that "go well with the idea of equality and unity, and do not disturb the social order".