Hijab row: Karnataka HC asks counsel to conclude submissions by Friday

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The Karnataka High Court bench, hearing the petitions filed by students pressing for their right of wearing hijab, has asked all counsel to conclude their submissions by Friday and if the submissions are over, it is likely to reserve the judgment thereafter.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the 10th day of the hearing, the three-judge bench heard the counsels’ argument who vehemently pressed for the right of hijab.

A.M. Dar, counsel for the girls who have been denied their right to wear hijab, submitted an elaborate argument quoting verses from Quran and stated that hijab is a life and death question for Muslim girls. He prayed before the bench to come down heavily on the state for passing an order restricting hijab in classrooms.

Senior advocate Devadatt Kamat presented his rebuttal to arguments and citation of previous judgments against wearing of hijab in classrooms. He maintained that the Government Order, issued regarding wearing of hijab, clearly offends Article 14 of the Constitution. Denying entry to girls for wearing hijab is affecting their right to education which is paramount, he said.

At this, Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, who is heading the bench, asked Kamat that he is insisting to wear headgear inside an institution which has a prescribed uniform. The CJ further said that as Kamat also says that it is the fundamental right and asked him to establish his (petitioner girls) right. He underlined that Article 25 (2) is a ‘reformatory power’ given to the state.

Kamat maintained that wearing of hijab is indeed an essential practice under Islam. The Education Act and uniform rule cannot be a measure of social reform and wearing of hijab is not a regressive practice as it is portrayed by the AG, he added.

Senior advocate Guru Krishnakumar appeared for lecturer of Udupi College who has been made a respondent and submitted his arguments in favor of prescription of uniform.

The hijab row which started from Udupi Pre-University Girls’ College has become a crisis in the state, with students refusing to attend classes without hijab and maintaining that they will wait until the final verdict is given. the high court had issued an interim order banning both hijab and saffron shawls or scarves inside the classrooms, the agitation is ongoing.

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