Karnataka HC upholds ban on hijab in schools, colleges, says headscarf not a part of Islamic faith


Photo: ANI

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday 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.

The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction, constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to, a three-judge bench of the court further noted.

"We are of the considered opinion that wearing of Hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith," Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi who headed the full bench of the High Court said reading out portion of the order.

The other two judges in the panel were Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi.

The bench also maintained that the government has power to issue impugned government order dated February 5, 2022 and no case is made out for its invalidation. By the said order, the state government had banned wearing clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges.

The court also rejected the plea to initiate a disciplinary inquiry against the college, its principal and a teacher.

"In the above circumstances, all these writ petitions being devoid of merits are liable to be and accordingly are dismissed. In view of the dismissal of the writ petition, all the pending applications fell into insignificance and are accordingly disposed off," the bench said in its order.

On January 1, six girl students of a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal town protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into the classroom wearing Hijab.

This was four days after they requested the principal permission to wear Hijabs in classrooms which was not allowed. Till then, students used to wear Hijab to the campus and entered the classroom after removing the scarves, the college principal Rudre Gowda had said.

"The institution did not have any rule on Hijab-wearing as such and no one used to wear it to the classroom in the last 35 years. The students who came with the demand had the backing of outside forces," Gowda had said. PTI

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