Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Hijab Row: SC pulls up petitioners, “no forum shopping”

The Supreme Court On Monday, August 29, pulled up the petitioners in the Hijab case for seeking an adjournment and said that the Apex court will not allow “forum shopping”.

Notably, the Karnataka High Court passed an order upholding the ban on wearing hijabs in educational institutions in March. The Supreme Court on Monday, heard the batch of appeals filed by a batch of petitioners challenging the Karnataka HC’s verdict in the Hijab row. 

During the hearing, the SC bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia reprimanded the petitioners over their request for an adjournment.  In stern language, the Apex court said, “You (petitioners) wanted urgent listing and now you want hearing adjourned. We will not allow this.” SC also remarked that it will not permit “forum shopping”.

SC issues notice to Karnataka govt

After making a stern remark over the Hijab petitioners’ request for an adjournment, the Apex court later fixed the matter for further hearing on September 05, Monday.

Notably, during the hearing course, the senior attorney, appearing for the Karnataka government, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, stated that because everyone is present, the court should issue a notice. In response, the Supreme Court gave notice to the Karnataka government and other parties and sought their response.

Karnataka HC’s verdict on Hijab row

In a high octane row the Karnataka High Court, on March 15, dismissed petitions filed by a group of students seeking permission to wear hijab in classrooms. However, the three-judge Bench of the court, consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi further noted that the prescription of school uniforms is only a reasonable restriction, and constitutionally permissible, which the students cannot object to. Notably, in its judgement, the HC held that the wearing of hijab by women was not an essential religious practice of Islam.

After the High Court order, the Department of Pre-University Education has made uniforms prescribed by the College Development Committee, compulsory for Pre-University (PU) students from the 2022-23 academic year. In addition, it also states that in case no uniform is prescribed by the College Development Committee or management, students must wear a garment which will “maintain equality and unity, and which does not disturb public order.”

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