Published: 17th February 2022
#HijabRow: State to file submissions tomorrow, hearing adjourned for fourth day in hijab case
The three-judge bench is on Day 5 of the hearing. Advocates argued today that the GO by the K'taka govt violated international treaties, and is impacting the mental health of young Muslim girls
The Karnataka High Court on February 17 has once again adjourned the hearing in the batch of petitions against the restriction on Muslim girls being allowed to wear hijabs in educational institutions. The case will not be heard tomorrow, after Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi requested the court to allow him to present his case in the matter on behalf of the State Government on February 18.
On Thursday, the bench led by Chief Justice of the High Court, Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi dealt with a group of Public Interest Litigations that were filed in the matter, and dismissed Intervention Applications, stating that the court does not require assistance at this time.
A couple of petitions and PILs were dismissed or asked to be withdrawn on grounds of maintainability by the bench, which reprimanded the counsels for wasting the time of the court in "such a crucial matter." Advocate Rahmatullah Kotwal who filed a PIL claiming that the Karnataka government's order that restricted Muslim students from wearing hijab over their uniform violated Article 51 (C) of the Constitution which says that the state is under obligation to honour international treaties and laws to which it is a party. The advocate claimed that the GO violated Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adding that the state needs to remove all forms of direct and indirect discrimination between men and women. However, the bench dismissed his petition on grounds that it was not submitted according to the updated PIL rules of the High Court.
The court then heard submissions in a PIL filed by Advocate Vinod Kulkarni, who claimed that the interim order of the court, which prohibits students of educational institutions with prescribed uniforms from wearing any additional item of religious clothing including hijabs or saffron shawls, was causing mass hysteria in the country.
The advocate said, "The issue is having an adverse impact on the minds of young Muslim girls, and it is the duty of the Union of India to guard the mental health of the state." Additionally, Kulkarni requested the court to pass an order today allowing Muslim girls to wear a hijab at the very least on Fridays, and in the upcoming month of Ramzan, as long as they wear the prescribed uniform. "If the court disallows hijab, it may amount to banning the Quran," claimed Kulkarni.
As colleges and educational institutions reopened all across the state this week, reports and videos have emerged depicting authorities, teachers and even police officials stopping Muslim women teachers and girl students in front of the gates, and having them remove their hijab and burkha before entering. Some students have also boycotted classes and even exams, claiming that they choose hijab over education.