Student approaches SC to overturn Hijab ban upheld by Karnataka High Courttext_fields
Bengaluru: Hijabs are not an essential religious practice, the Karnataka High Court has ruled, backing a ban on hijabs in classrooms today. This comes weeks after violent protests began across the state against the ban.
An appeal has been filed in the Supreme Court by Niba Naaz, a student not among the five who had initially challenged the hijab ban.
"We are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith," ruled the Karnataka High Court, refusing to strike down the ban imposed by the state government and dismissing the students' petitions.
Karnataka's government issued an order on February 5 banning clothing in schools and colleges that "disturbs equality, integrity, and public order."
According to the High Court, a school uniform is a reasonable restriction that students cannot object to.
In order to prevent divisions on religious and other grounds, schools had a legal right to impose dress codes that forbade the hijab, the court ruled.
"The aim of the regulation is to create a 'safe space'... and the ideals of egalitarianism should be readily apparent to all students," it stated.
We will not attend college without the hijab, the girls told reporters, vowing to fight the verdict. "We are shaken because we expected so much," they said.
In their testimony to the court, the students said that wearing the hijab is an inherent right guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
As a precaution, the government blocked major gatherings in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Shivamogga for a week. In Udupi, where the protests have been going on since December, schools and colleges are currently closed.
At the height of the controversy, earlier the Karnataka High Court had temporarily prohibited hijab and saffron scarves, and there were clashes between different sections of students as a result.
In Udupi, students claimed that for the first time in years, headscarves had been banned at their school.
With more campuses subjected to the restrictions, saffron-wearing students began launching rival demonstrations.
The state's ruling BJP denied allegations that they were targeting Muslim students and seeking to drive a wedge between communities. They suggested no religious symbols should be allowed in schools.
Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister, said in Delhi; "I welcome the court's decision. I appeal to everyone that the state and country have to go forward, everyone has to maintain peace by accepting the High Court order. The basic work of students is to study. So, leaving all this aside they should study and be united."