Supreme Court’s Big Order On Karnataka Hijab Ban Today

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New Delhi: A much-awaited Supreme Court decision on petitions challenging the ban on hijabs – headscarves worn by some Muslim women – in schools and colleges in Karnataka is expected to delivered by two judges on Thursday morning at 10:30 am.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia had reserved its judgement on the pleas against the Karnataka High Court judgement refusing to lift the ban on hijab on September 22 after hearing arguments for 10 days.

The judgement on these pleas has been on the cards this week as Justice Gupta, who is heading the bench, is due to retire on Sunday.

During the arguments in the top court, lawyers appearing for the petitioners had insisted that preventing the Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to the classroom will jeopardise their education as they might stop attending classes.

They had raised various aspects, including on the state government’s February 5, 2022 order which banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges and had compared hijabs to the ghoongat or bindis worn by Hindus and turbans by Sikhs.

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

The lawyers appearing for the state had argued that the Karnataka government order that sparked up the controversy 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 Supreme Court that the government would have been “guilty of dereliction of constitutional duty” if it had not acted the way it did.

On March 15, the high court had 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.

The state government’s order of February 5, 2022 was challenged by some Muslim girls in the high court. Several pleas have been filed in the top court challenging the high court verdict.

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