New Delhi: After a marathon hearing over a period of 10 days, the Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on various petitions challenging Karnataka High Court upholding the ban on Hijab in educational institutes. The Karnataka High Court had on March 15 dismissed petitions filed by a section of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi seeking permission to wear hijab inside the classroom, saying it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.
The state government had, by its order of February 5, 2022, banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.
During the 10 days of hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Karnataka’s Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi, and Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj argued on behalf of the state, while senior lawyers Dushyant Dave and Salman Khurshid presented the views of the Muslim petitioners.
The petitioners – Muslim girl students from various colleges in Karnataka – had approached the High Court after they were denied permission to attend classes on account of wearing hijab.
A three-judge Bench of then Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi had held that:
Hijab is not a part of essential religious practices of Islam;
Requirement of uniform is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a);
The government has the power to pass the GO; no case is made out for its invalidation.