SC to consider plea for hearing on Karnataka hijab row

Muslim Women Students

NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a plea for hearing by a group of students seeking permission to allow them to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.

Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing on behalf of the students, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that they had to appear in annual examinations beginning from March 9 in the government colleges.

The bench, also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha, queried the counsel, “why are they prevented from taking the examination?” The counsel replied because of the headscarf and further added that the students had already lost one year and if no relief was granted, they would lose another year.

The bench said the plea for listing would be examined.

The top court was informed that the students just wanted permission to appear in examinations with their ‘hijab’, and all these students had already shifted themselves to private colleges but they would have to go to government colleges to appear in examinations.

The counsel asked the court to fix the interim application for hearing.

On January 23, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a plea to constitute a three-judge bench to consider petitions challenging ban on hijab in classrooms of pre university colleges in Karnataka.

The Supreme Court, in October last year, gave a split verdict on petitions challenging the validity of ban on hijab worn by some Muslim girl students in classrooms of pre-university colleges in Karnataka. The split verdict was delivered by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

Justice Gupta, retired now, upheld the Karnataka government circular and dismissed the appeals against the Karnataka High Court judgment. However, Justice Dhulia quashed the Karnataka government’s decision to ban wearing of hijab inside classrooms of pre-university colleges, saying that the Constitution is also a document of trust and it is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.

Justice Dhulia in his judgment, said: “We live in a Democracy and under the Rule of Law, and the Laws which govern us must pass muster of the Constitution of India. Amongst many facets of our Constitution, one is Trust. Our Constitution is also a document of Trust. It is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.”

The bench had said since there is divergence of views, the matter would be posted before the Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench. — IANS


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