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Business News/ News / Nobody prohibited from wearing Hijab, question is about restrictions in schools: Supreme Court

Nobody prohibited from wearing Hijab, question is about restrictions in schools: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that nobody is prohibited from wearing Hijab, ‘question is about restrictions in schools’

The Supreme Court of India (HT_PRINT)Premium
The Supreme Court of India (HT_PRINT)

The question in the Karnataka hijab ban case is only about the restriction in schools, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday, adding that nobody is prohibited from wearing the hijab anywhere else. The Supreme Court made the remarks when it was hearing arguments on a batch of pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict. The high court had refused to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia was told by one of the petitioners that the Karnataka Hijab ban matter be referred to a five-judge Constitution bench.

The petitioner also argued that if a girl, in the exercise of her rights under Articles 19, 21, or 25 of the Constitution, decides to wear a hijab, then can the state put a prohibition that will violate her rights.

“The question is nobody is prohibiting you from wearing Hijab. You can wear it wherever you want. The only restriction is in the school. We are only concerned with that question," the Supreme Court bench observed.

At the outset, Kamat said his endeavour is to persuade the bench to consider reference of this matter under Article 145 (3) of the Constitution.

Article 145 (3) says the minimum number of judges, who are to sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution or for the purpose of hearing any reference under Article 143, shall be five.

"I endeavour to persuade your lordships to take this course of action," the senior advocate said. He also said that the matter was not simply related to a violation of a statute, or a rule.

The senior advocate said, “This case involves primarily a basic question as to whether the State has failed in its obligation to provide for reasonable accommodation, which is a Constitutional principle adopted by your lordships, for the exercise of a citizens’ rights under Articles 19, 21, and 25."

He added that the petitioner is not challenging the prescription of the uniform in the school. While arguing, the advocate referred to a circular of the Kendriya Vidyalaya which prescribed a uniform and makes a reasonable accommodation for Muslim girls to wear a headscarf.

He also referred to a judgment of the constitutional court of South Africa in the case of a girl who wanted to wear a nose ring in school.

To which, Justice Gupta said that a nose pin was not part of any religious practice. “Whatever little I know, nose pin is not part of any religious practice. Mangalsutra is, but not the nose ring," Justice Gupta said. The bench said that women also wear earrings all across the world and it is not a case of religious practice.

"My impression is, no other country has this kind of a diversification as in our country," Justice Gupta said.

"It may not be right. Because one community wants to come with a headscarf…. another community is following the dress code," the bench observed. The bench would hear the arguments on Thursday.

(With PTI inputs)

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Updated: 07 Sep 2022, 09:26 PM IST
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