Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told the state Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 16 February that the government will comply with the high court’s interim order to ban students from wearing hijab or any religious attire in schools and colleges until the matter is resolved in court.
The chief minister was responding to a question by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah during Zero Hour, on Higher Education Minister CN Ashwath Narayan’s statement that dress code is applicable to pre-university colleges and not for degree colleges.
“The Higher Education Minister has stated the facts. He has said that dress code is applicable where the rules exist and it is not there for higher education institutions or Degree colleges,” said Bommai, as per a PTI report.
He said that students will have to abide by the dress code in educational institutes and the rule is not applicable where dress codes do not exist. The interim order is clear in this regard, he added.
“Things are very clear, our government will abide by the High Court order,” he added.
Court’s Order and Hijab Row
A bench comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna Dixit and JM Khazi of the Karnataka High Court, had on 10 February passed an order prohibiting any student from wearing any religious clothing till the matter is pending with court.
The chief justice rejected the argument raised by senior advocate Devadatt Kamat that this would amount to a suspension of the right to practise one's religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.
She stated, "It is a matter of a few days only."
The issue has been ongoing since 28 December 2021, when the Kundapur Pre-University College in Udupi had prohibited six girls wearing hijabs from attending classes.
A number of institutes in Karnataka have denied entry to hijab-donning students into college premises since then, leading to protests.
(With inputs from PTI.)