Published: 24th February 2022
#HijabRow: Arguments reach stalemate in K'taka High Court. Will hijab verdict be out tomorrow?
The full judge Bench has said that they will finish hearing the case tomorrow. They have also received a sealed envelope containing details on the complaint against the CFI
Day 10 of the hearing in the hijab case in the Karnataka High Court ended with the court allowing Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat to finish his rejoinder arguments in reply to Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi and others. The court also heard submissions from Senior Advocate AM Dar who represented Muslim students of a private school in Karnataka, who were denied entry because of their hijab. The advocate attempted to explain how essential the hijab is to Islam by quoting from the Quran and defending the hijab, saying it isn't an attire that "enhances the beauty of women by covering their vulnerable parts." Dar also ended his arguments by saying that if asked to choose between hijab and education, the petitioners will choose hijab as it is a "matter of life and death for them".
Adv Kamat, in his rejoinder arguments, was asked by the court to prove how the hijab is a fundamental right and how it has been violated. "Article 25 (1) is not a restrictive paradigm, the canopy and width of rights are not capable of being put in a straitjacket formula. If I say there is a violation, there should first be a restriction. I am saying that not permitting the students to wear headscarves is an infringement of their rights," he said.
Kamat also refuted the claims of the AG that the students only demanded wearing hijab since December last year and that the PU College is Udupi was an all-girls institution, "I have specifically pleaded that we have been wearing headscarves since our admission two years ago till the GO came. No reply/rebuttal is there as far as this is concerned. This is a co-ed school," he said.
He concluded that the GO that the petitioners were challenging, which says that hijab is not an essential religious practice and that students should wear uniforms prescribed by institutions, is illegal and added that there was "no valid restriction for the exercise of Article 25." Kamat also mentioned that the Constituent Assembly was against the idea of prohibiting the display of religious symbols in public and a ban of this kind would be contradictory to their intents. He also added that the Sabarimala verdict that the AG was relying upon was pro-choice.
Sealed envelope on CFI submitted to the Bench
The Advocate General has also submitted a sealed envelope to the Bench on the Campus Front of India and the complaint filed against them for allegedly threatening teachers of the PU College in Udupi. The CFI was referred to as a radical organisation by Advocate S Naganand who accused them of instigating the Muslim students to demand wearing the hijab, and for leading the protests in the state.