Karnataka HC Reserves Judgment in 'Hijab Ban' Case After 11 Days of Hearing

Muslim girls had moved the high court, seeking protection of their right to wear hijab in educational institutions.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The Karnataka High Court, on Friday, 25 February, reserved its verdict in the batch of petitions filed by Muslim girls seeking protection of their right to wear hijabs in classrooms. This comes after 11 days of hearing the matter.

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi also asked all parties to give their written submissions. This included even those who had filed intervening applications, if they so chose to, specified the court.

'Only Asking for Permission To Cover the Head With a Piece of Cloth'

On Friday, Senior Advocate Yusuf Muchchala, appearing for one of the petitioners, made his rejoinder submission, and pointed out that they had only asked for "permission to cover the head with a piece of cloth."

"It is not right for the college to prevent us from doing that," Mucchala said.

He also said that the Hadith specified that the hijab needed to be worn, even if the face was not covered, and claimed that even the government had admitted to the same in its reply.

"Advocate General said that what is stated in the Quran, though obligatory, may not be essential. That is contrary to the verdict in the Shayara Bano case."
Senior Advocate Yusuf Muchchala

'The Issue of Entrusting a Legislative Member With Executive Power...'

Meanwhile, senior advocate Ravivarma Kumar, in his rejoinder, argued that if the president of a College Development Committee (CDC) would be a local MLA, out of the 12 members, 11 will be nominated by the MLA. He termed it "absolute power given to the MLA."

"The issue of entrusting a legislative member with executive power is not accepted."
Ravivarma Kumar

Meanwhile, petitioner-in-person Dr Vinod Kulkarni refuted claims of sporting the hijab not being in the Quran, or it going against public order, morality, and health.

"Disturbance in social fabric is seen because of the ban," Kulkarni submitted.

What Else Was Said in the Court?

Advocate Subhash Jha, on the other hand, argued that the issue of hijab had been brought before several high courts and alleged that it was a "criminal waste of judicial time."

Meanwhile, the bench dismissed advocate Balakrishna's petition seeking a direction to restrict the media from video graphing Muslim girl students wearing hijab, asking him to file a complaint with the concerned authorities.

The advocate general, on the other hand, specified that he was not making a submission, but alleged that some of his comments had been misconstrued by the petitioners' counsel. He added that he would be clarifying the same in his written submission.



Previously, on Thursday, senior advocate Devdatt Kamat had made his rejoinder arguments in the case filed by the Muslim girls and had said that on the pretext of the government order, "the right to education, which is paramount, is being put on the back burner."

He had also said that much of his task, as far as the government order was concerned, "has become very easy" as "90 percent of the government order has been given up by Advocate General (Prabhuling Nadvadgi)."

But Kamat did point out that even if Navadgi's concessions were discarded by the court, the referred-to portion of the order must be removed as it "offends the doctrine of dictation in administrative law," and "there is no material."

Besides, Kamat said that the Sabarimala and Navtej court judgments that were cited by the advocate general were, in fact, pro-choice.

"Constitutional morality is pro-choice. It is a restriction on state power."
Devdatt Kamat

He went on to reassert that wearing the hijab was an essential religious practice, and pointed out that the respondents had not disputed the two judgments of Kerala High Court and one judgment of Madras High Court, which held the hijab and headscarf essential religious practice.


On 10 February, the Karnataka High Court had agreed to continue hearing the pleas filed by the girls but had refused to pass an interim order that would have allowed them to continue wearing hijabs until it arrived at a final decision.

While directing the reopening of colleges in the state, the judges had also controversially ordered that no student should wear any religious clothing while the court continued to hear the case.

"Pending consideration of all these petitions, we restrain all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags, or the like within the classroom, until further orders."
Karnataka High Court

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