Karnataka Hijab ban: Supreme Court delivers split verdict, case now before CJI

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Karnataka Hijab ban verdict: The Supreme Court Thursday delivered a split verdict on pleas challenging Karnataka High Court’s 15 March verdict, dismissing a batch of petitions filed by Muslim girl students in Udupi, seeking right to wear hijab inside classrooms.

The judge said that there was a “divergence in opinion” and now the matter will be put before the Chief Justice of India (CJI)  UU Lalit for constituting a larger bench.

“In view of divergent opinion, let the matter be placed before the CJI for appropriate directions,” the bench directed.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia delivered the judgment today. Justice Gupta who headed the bench upheld the government decision, while Justice Dhulia struck it down.

“There is divergence of opinion. I have held against the appellant. I dismiss the appeal,” Justice Gupta said.

Justice Dhulia, however, allowed the appeal and quashed the high court’s order.

Earlier after hearing the matter for 10 days, the bench had reserved its verdict on the pleas on September 22.

The Karnataka High Court had, on 15 March, dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students of the Government Pre-University Girls College in Karnataka’s Udupi seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

During the arguments in the apex court, a number of counsel appearing for the petitioners had insisted that preventing Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to the classroom will put their education in jeopardy as they might stop attending classes.

Counsel for the petitioners had argued on various aspects, including on the state government’s 5 February, 2022, order which banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

Some advocates had also argued that the matter be referred to a five-judge constitution bench.

On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the state had argued that the Karnataka government order that kicked up a row over hijab was “religion neutral”.

Insisting that the agitation in support of wearing hijab in educational institutions was not a “spontaneous act” by a few individuals, the state’s counsel had argued in the apex court that the government would have been “guilty of dereliction of constitutional duty” if it had not acted the way it did.

The state government’s order of 5 February, 2022, was challenged by some Muslim girls in the high court.

Several pleas have been filed in the apex court challenging the high court verdict.

With inputs from agencies

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Karnataka Hijab ban: Supreme Court delivers split verdict, case now before CJI
Karnataka Hijab ban: Supreme Court delivers split verdict, case now before CJI
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