The Karnataka High Court today ruled that wearing the headscarf in class is not an essential religious practice, dealing a major setback to students who had challenged the prohibition. The restriction has been challenged in court by five petitions.
All petitions pertaining to the hijab matter were dismissed on Tuesday by a three-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi. According to the court, mandating students to wear uniforms is a legitimate restriction on their right to freedom of expression.
The HC added that the prescription of uniforms for students in an institution falls under the category of reasonable restrictions. Students can't object to uniform, ruled Karnataka high court.
Senior advocate Ravivarma Kumar, appearing for a Udupi student, said the government’s action amounted to “hostile discrimination based on religion”. Senior advocate Devadatt Kamat, representing two girls from a Kundapur college, claimed the hecklers’ veto doctrine cannot be allowed to be applied for curbing the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution vis-a-vis wearing of hijab by Muslim girls.
The state government had banned big gatherings for a week in Bengaluru ahead of the ruling "to ensure public peace and order." From March 15 to 19, Mangalore, too, prohibited mass gatherings. Udupi's schools and colleges are closed today.
The Hijab controversy began in January of this year when six students wearing the hijab were allegedly banned from entering the Government PU College in Udupi. Following this, the females sat outside the college in protest of being denied admission.
Following this, the boys of numerous Udupi colleges began wearing saffron scarves to class. This demonstration expanded to other sections of the state, resulting in a slew of protests and agitations across the state.
The high court issued an interim order on February 10 stating that students should not wear religious clothing to class until the court announces a permanent order.