Published: 25th March 2022
#HijabRow: Permit girls to take exams wearing hijab in the colour of school uniform, Congress urges Karnataka govt
The apex court said that exams have nothing to do with the hijab while hearing the mention of a plea seeking urgent hearing on a petition challenging the ban on sporting hijab in educational inst'
Deputy Leader of Congress in Karnataka Assembly UT Khader, on Thursday, March 24, urged the state government to consider allowing students to take exams wearing hijabs of the same colour as their uniform, news agency ANI reported. On the contrary, the Karnataka government has refused to budge on the hijab ban, even for the sake of the students whose Board exams are around the corner.
While addressing the assembly during the ongoing legislative session, UT Khader requested Higher Education Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan CN and Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh to consider the request and allow students to write the exam, stating that the exams are very important for the future of those girls.
Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah also demanded the state government allow girls to write exams. But minister Nagesh replied, "We have to follow high court order". It is noteworthy that the court has not put a blanket ban on hijab in educational institutions but has left it for the government bodies and institutions to decide. BJP MLAs raised questions over the hijab issue and said that students must follow and respect the High Court's verdict.
On March 24, the Supreme Court said that exams have nothing to do with the hijab while hearing the mention of a plea seeking urgent hearing on a petition challenging the ban on sporting hijab in educational institutes. A Bench of Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi had held that the prescription of uniform is a reasonable restriction that students could not object to and dismissed various petitions challenging a ban on hijab in educational institutions, saying they are without merit.
The hijab row had erupted in January this year when Government PU College in Udupi barred the entry of six girls wearing the hijab. Following this, the girls sat in protest outside the college over being denied entry. After this, boys of several colleges in Udupi started attending classes wearing saffron scarves. This spread to other parts of the state as well, leading to tensions in several places in Karnataka.
As a result, the Karnataka government said that all students must adhere to the uniform and banned both hijab and saffron scarves till an expert committee decided on the issue. On February 5, the pre-university education board released a circular stating that the students could only wear the uniform approved by the school administration and no other religious attire would be allowed in colleges.
The order stated that in case a uniform is not prescribed by management committees, then students should wear dresses that go well with the idea of equality and unity and do not disturb the social order. A batch of petitions was filed against the government's rule in the Karnataka High Court by some girls seeking permission to wear the hijab in educational institutions.