The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will “take a call” on listing a plea to allow girls to sit for exams in Karnataka while wearing the hijab.
The SC bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha agreed to examine a plea by a group of students who sought permission to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.
Seeking permission to appear for exams wearing hijab
Appearing on behalf of the students, Advocate Shadan Farasat submitted before the bench that they had to appear in annual examinations beginning from March 9 in the government colleges.
The lawyer informed the SC that the students had already shifted to private colleges following the hijab ban. Still, they would have to go to government colleges to appear in examinations.
Students have lost a year
The counsel added that the students had already lost one year and if no relief was granted, they would lose another year.
CJI DY Chandrachud sought to know why are the students to appear in exams. The lawyer replied that they are not allowing entry with hijabs and he wants that the intervening application gets listed.
Split verdict on hijab ban
In October 2022, the SC had given a split verdict on various petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court order, which upheld a ban on Hijab in educational institutes. Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the appeal, while Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed it.
Permitting a community to wear its religious symbols to schools will be an “antithesis to secularism,” Justice Gupta had said, while Justice Dhulia insisted that wearing the Muslim headscarf should simply be a “matter of choice.”
The matter was thereafter referred to the Chief Justice of India for appropriate direction due to divergent opinions.
Hijab ban continues in Karnataka
Following the split verdict in SC, the Karnataka government had said that the High Court order banning the hijab in educational institutions in the state will continue.
In March, the Karnataka High Court ruled that wearing Hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith and held that the prescription of a uniform is a reasonable restriction on fundamental rights.
In January, the SC had said it will consider setting up a three-judge bench to adjudicate the case related to the hijab ban in Karnataka schools.
Students drop out, allege harassment over hijab
Following the hijab ban, many students were forced to drop out of schools and colleges as their parents did not allow them to attend classes without head scarves.
Some students who continued attending classes had alleged that they were facing harassment from classmates and authorities for wearing hijabs.
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