Published: 21st March 2022
#HijabRow: Protestors who boycotted exam will not be given a second chance, says Education Minister
The second-year Pre-University practical exams were conducted after the High Court's interim order that banned hijab and other religious gear from the classroom in the state
Ruling out the possibility of a re-examination for those students who boycotted the practical tests as part of their Pre-University (PU) final examinations, Karnataka's Education Minister BC Nagesh has said that giving these students a second chance would set a bad precedent.
According to a report in the Times of India, students protesting for the right to wear the hijab were prohibited from entering college campuses to sit for their practical examinations. However, the students refused to remove their hijab and boycotted the exams to mark their protest. The practical exams account for 30 marks out of a total 100 in the final PU II exams. The theory exam takes up 70 marks.
With the Karnataka High Court's verdict on March 15, which upheld the ban on hijab inside the classrooms, it remains to be seen whether these girls will continue with their protest and therefore, risk losing out on an entire academic year. The high court had said that the hijab was not an essential religious practice and therefore, allowing it inside the classroom could not be protected as a fundamental right. Under these circumstances, the court concluded that permitting Muslim students to wear the hijab would undermine the concept of the uniform.
The controversy first took root at the end of last year when students from Government Pre University College in Udupi claimed that they were being denied entry into the college campus for wearing the hijab. Protests then escalated swiftly across the state and the Muslim girls were opposed by students sporting saffron shawls. The state government also issued an order that said that institutions can impose the uniform and added that the hijab was not an essential religious practice.
The High Court, which was petitioned by the Muslim students, shared the state's view in the matter and delivered its verdict almost three weeks after concluding its 11 days of hearing.
An appeal has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the verdict. However, last week, when Advocate Sanjay Hegde urged the apex court to take up the matter urgently in light of the impending exams, the court said it would consider it after the Holi vacations that end today.