Karnataka HC upholds Hijab ban, calls it a “non-essential practice”

Karnataka High Court ordered that the existing ban imposed on wearing hijab in educational institutions will continue to stay put.

Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed various petitions against the ban on Hijab in education institutions. The HC asserted that wearing Hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam.

Standing the Karnataka government’s order dated February 5, the Karnataka High Court ordered that the existing ban imposed on wearing hijab in educational institutions will continue to stay put. The court said that the prescription of school uniforms is a reasonable condition that students could not challenge.

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Dismissing all written petitions by girl or women students, the court announced that the Karnataka government’s order banning the hijab in educational institutions is not unconstitutional.

Explaining the court’s ruling, the Chief Justice announced that taking a holistic view, the court proposed a few questions and answered them accordingly. The court took into deliberation whether Hijab is an essential religious practice, whether it is safeguarded under article 25, whether the prescription of school uniform is violative of rights, and whether the Administration is arbitrary and violates Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

Considering all this, the court ordered that Hijab is not a crucial religious practice under the Islamic faith, which is insured under article 25.

However, earlier last month, the Karnataka High Court had temporarily banned religious clothes, involving Hijab and saffron scarves, last month as the controversy developed into protests and a face-off between various sections of students.

The petitioners, comprising a dozen Muslim students, told the court that wearing the hijab was a fundamental right ensured under India’s constitution and essential method of Islam. After eleven days of the hearing, the High Court had reserved its decision on February 25.

However, the controversy over the hijab flared in Karnataka late last year as students at a school in Udupi claimed that they were stopped from entering class wearing headscarves.