The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday (February 23) stated that the temporary ban on hijab or any other religious scarf in schools and colleges of the state is meant only for students and does not apply to teachers.
Notably, the HC had put a temporary ban on use of hijab or scarves depicting any religion after controversy erupted in a PG college in Udupi district of Karnataka over Muslim students wearing hijabs in the college. Soon Muslim girls in other schools/colleges were found waiting outside, as the managements stopped them from entering the classrooms.
Since the HC judgment, educational institutes in Karnataka had stopped teachers as well as students from wearing hijab once inside.
Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, responding to a plea from advocate Mohammad Tahir, clearly stated that the order is applicable only to students.
The hijab controversy was triggered after some girls from a government PU college in Udupi in January sought permission to wear it inside classrooms. They started a protest against college authorities, which soon snowballed into a state-wide issue.
Several petitions were filed in the Karnataka High Court on January 31 in which Muslim students sought the right to wear Hijabs in classrooms under Article 14, 19 and 25 of the Constitution of India. The court heard it for the first time on February 8. The high court, in its interim order pending consideration of all such petitions, last week restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.