The Supreme Court on Monday (August 29) sought a response from the Karnataka government on pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia issued notice to the state on the pleas and posted them for hearing on September 5.
The bench pulled up some of the petitioners, who sought adjournment in the matter, and said it would not permit “forum shopping”.
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Several petitions filed
“This is not acceptable to us. You wanted urgent listing and when the matter is listed, you want adjournment. We will not permit forum shopping,” Justice Gupta said.
Several petitions have been filed in the apex court against the Karnataka High Court verdict holding that wearing of hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The high court had dismissed the 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, the high court had said.
What Karnataka govt order said
In February, the State government ordered banning wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges.
“Invoking 133 (2) of the Karnataka Education Act-1983, which says a uniform style of clothes has to be worn compulsorily. The private school administration can choose a uniform of their choice,” the government order said.
It said the students have to wear the dress chosen by the College Development Committee or the appellate committee of the administrative board of the pre-university colleges, which come under the pre-university education department.
“In the event of administrative committee not selecting a uniform, clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public law and order should not be worn,” the order said.
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The government order noted that the KEA-1983 had explained that all students should wear a common uniform so that they should belong to a common family and behave in a manner that there is no discrimination.
What CM said
In March, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said everyone should abide by the high court’s verdict.
“Everyone should abide by the verdict of the three judges bench of the High Court. While we (govt) implement it (the order) everyone should cooperate and maintain peace. Maintaining peace and order in the society is of utmost importance. I appeal to the people, leaders of all communities, parents, teachers and students to accept the order and cooperate in imparting education to students, in accordance with the court order,” Bommai had said.
(With Agency inputs)