Published: 15th March 2022
Will decide on moving Supreme Court soon, will not compromise on hijab, say Udupi students on HC verdict
The verdict in the hearing of the writ petition filed by these students was declared today, with the court dismissing their petition on grounds that it lacked merit
The six petitioners from Udupi, who moved the Karnataka High Court after they were denied entry into their Government Pre-University College in hijabs, have declared that they feel betrayed by the decision of the full-judge Bench to allow educational institutions to prohibit the hijab inside classrooms. The students refuted the High Court's conclusion that the hijab is not an essential religious practice under the Islamic faith and have said that they will not compromise on their right to wear the headgear.
When asked if they would consider moving the Supreme Court and appeal against the HC's verdict, the girls said that they are in talks with their advocates on that decision, as their exams are fast approaching as well. They rued the fact that the matter had been dragged for so long. "It could have been solved inside the college campus itself if our Principal had allowed us to wear a simple piece of clothing over our heads," said the girls, adding, "We will take every legal action possible to ensure that our fundamental rights are protected."
The verdict from the High Court came this morning, after 11 days of plea hearings in an issue that has been in the headlines since the start of the year. The judgment from the three-judge Bench, consisting of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice JM Khazi and Justice KS Dixit, concluded that the hijab was not an essential religious practice and, therefore, could not be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution. The judgment also unequivocally said that educational institutions have every right to prescribe and enforce uniforms in order to maintain a sense of harmony among students. The Bench also said that the hijab was contrary to the objectives of emancipation of women.
The students, who claim that they haven't been able to attend classes for three months now and are under the threat of missing out on writing their exams, say that such a declaration denies them their basic right to education and forces Muslim women back inside their homes. The judgment also said that there is no need for any disciplinary action against the college authorities and that the government was well within its rights to issue the Government Order that said that students need to follow the prescribed dress code only.