Karnataka HC| Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: Advocate General of Karnataka, Prabhuling Navadgi, on Monday, told the Karnataka High Court that the petitioners have not placed any material to substantiate their claim for a declaration that wearing of the hijab (headscarf) is an essential religious practice.
Appearing for the state, he said that the petitioners have placed zero material to substantiate their claim for a declaration that wearing of hijab is an essential religious practice.
A bench of the three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi was hearing the various petitions challenging the ban on hijab in educational institutes in the state.
The Advocate General said that the Constitutional Court must examine the material they have placed with regard to the law on essential religious practice.
However, he submitted that the petitioners have quoted Quran.
The Advocate General further told the Court that there were at least four instances, where the Supreme Court negatived it whenever reliance was placed on Quran to show certain practices as essential.
Among them were the Qureshi case relating to the sacrifice of animals as essential practice and the Shayara Bano case where instant triple talaq was struck down, Advocate General said.
During the hearing, the Court asked Advocate General to tell the stand on whether wearing a hijab can be permitted in institutions or not.
Advocate General replied that the operative part of the government order leaves it to institutions to decide in this regard.
Karnataka High Court said one of the petitioner's counsel argued that they may be permitted to wear the same colour headscarf as per uniform prescribed by the college. The Court said that one of the counsels has argued that if dupatta, which is a part of the prescribed uniform, can be allowed to be worn on the head.
The Advocate General replied that the government order gives complete autonomy to institutions to decide the uniform. He said the preamble of the Karnataka Education Act is to foster a secular environment. He said the stand of the state is that element of introducing religious aspects should not be there in uniform.
To justify his arguments, Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi has cited various judgments including the Shirur Mutt case.
He also submitted that there was a telling statement made by Dr BR Ambedkar in the Assembly debates that don't allow religion to come into institutions and let us keep the religious things outside educational institutions.
He also apprised the Court about grievances raised by on excesses by authorities and said that he has conveyed it to Chief Secretary and asked him to convene a meeting of all concerned either today or tomorrow morning to address it.
The Karnataka High Court will continue hearing on Tuesday various petitions challenging the ban on headscarves in educational institutes. (ANI)