February 2, 2023 12:42 am

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After SC's split verdict, MPLB Appeals to Karnataka Govt to Withdraw its Hijab Ban Order

The All-India Bar Association has now sought referring Hijab case to a larger bench of a minimum of 5 judges including one Muslim judge after the split verdict on the hijab ban.

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The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLA) has appealed to the Karnataka Government to withdraw its order on the hijab ban. 

The appeal was made following the decision of the 2-judge bench of the Supreme Court under Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia. They delivered a split judgement on the Karnataka High Court ban (March 15th,2022) on wearing of any religious clothing including hijab in state-run schools and pre-university colleges.  

Justice Gupta’s backing on HC Verdict

Justice Hemant Gupta ruled in favor of the ban on hijab by dismissing all the appeals filed against the Karnataka HC judgment. He gave various statements based on the arguments made by the advocates and also referred to the religious texts. He framed 11 questions and answered them against the pleas. 

He stated that enforcing uniforms does not violate the right to freedom of expression instead it reinforces the right to equality. “The students are at liberty to carry their religious symbols outside the schools but in pre university college, the students should look alike, feel alike, think alike and study together in a cohesive cordial atmosphere. That is the objective behind a uniform, so as to bring about uniformity in appearances”, said Hemant Gupta. 

Justice Dhulia’s Stand Against HC Verdict

On the other hand, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia at Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-hijab petitioners. He set aside the Karnataka HC judgment and held that the entire concept of essential religious practice was not an issue to the dispute, rather “it is ultimately a matter of choice, nothing more, nothing less”. 

On the concerns of the petitioners, he said that the foremost question on his mind was the education of the girl child, “…already a girl child primarily in rural areas and semi-urban areas have a lot of difficulties to face. So are we making her life any better…”

In view of the divergence of opinion, the matter will now be placed before the Chief Justice of India for suitable directions.

A Timeline of the legal battle on the Hijab Row

  • July 1st, 2021 – The Government Pre-University (PU) college in Udupi, Karnataka issued a guideline for its academic year, which prescribed a uniform entry code.
  • December 28th, 2021 – Six students from the University claimed that they have been denied entry into the classrooms by wearing hijab, since September.
  • January 31st, 2022 – The students move the Karnataka HC against the ‘uniform’ guidelines of the college
  • February 5th, 2022 – The Karnataka State government issued an order allowing only prescribed uniforms in government colleges. 
  • February 10th, 2022 – HC passed an interim order that barred students from wearing any religious clothing inside the classrooms till the matter is decided
  • February 17th, 2022 – A special plea in HC seeks a nod to wear hijab in educational institutions on Fridays and during Ramzan. 
  • March 15th, 2022 – A three-judge bench of HC upholds the ban on wearing hijab to education institutes of the state, as it is not an intrinsic part of Islam. 
  • September 22nd, 2022 – Supreme Court of India reserves the order on the pleas  
  • October 13th, 2022 – SC delivers a split verdict on the Karnataka hijab ban. 

The All-India Bar Association has now sought referring Hijab case to a larger bench of a minimum of 5 judges including one Muslim judge after the split verdict on the hijab ban.    

Shreya Arora
Shreya Arora

Researcher | Content-Writer
~"Learn continually - there's always 'one more thing' to learn!"

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