The Chief Justice of India on Thursday, 24 March, refused to accept a request for urgent listing of the petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court judgment, which held that hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and upheld the ban on wearing headscarves in educational institutions in Karnataka.
When senior advocate Devadatt Kamat mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice of India seeking urgent listing saying that exams were going on, CJI NV Ramana said, "Exams have nothing to do with the issue”, LiveLaw reported.
However, Kamat insisted, "These are girls...the exams are from 28th. They are being restrained from entering the schools. One year will go.”
Without giving a date, the CJI said, “Next item”.
This comes days after the Supreme Court had asked for some time, stating that the matter will be listed after Holi.
What Was the Karnataka High Court Order?
Dismissing the petitions filed by Muslim girl students, seeking protection of their right to wear hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka, the Karnataka High Court had, on 15 March, said:
"We are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith... The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction that is constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to."
The high court had also held that the Karnataka government had the power to pass the order it did on 5 February, stating that students would have to wear uniforms and that there was no case made out for its invalidation.
There were no grounds for disciplinary inquiries against school authorities, which had denied entry to Muslim girls for failing to wear uniforms either, it had added.
"The school regulations prescribing dress code for all the students as one homogenous class, serve constitutional secularism," the court had further said in its judgment.
Meanwhile, calling it a "bad judgment," senior advocate AM Dhar, one of the counsels for petitioners in the case had told ANI that they would challenge it before the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)