The ban on Hijab has been refused as Muslim girls are adamant about wearing hijabs in schools and college. This Hijab controversy in Karnataka is finding resonance on social media and in street protests that outrage across the country. Muslim girls argued on their Hijab violation right to get the freedom of religion that is enshrined in the Constitution.
On Friday, the Karnataka High Court ordered students to not wear hijab, saffron shawls called Bhagwa, or use religious flags when attending schools and colleges in Karnataka, instead, they should wear a prescribed uniform. The interim order of the Court has been passed by the Bench of Justices JM Khazi and Krishna S Dixit, and Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and batch of petitions that are filed by Muslim girl students who are claiming to not being allowed to enter schools or colleges as per the government order that effectively banned hijabs or headscarves.
Grounds That Challenged Karnataka Government’s Order
Expression of wearing hijab is protected under Article 19(1)(a) that guarantees the “right to freedom of expression and speech”. Right comes under Article 19(1)(a) can be limited on “reasonable restrictions” that are mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution. It includes integrity and sovereignty of India, friendliness with foreign states, decency or morality or contempt of courts, incitement or defamation to an offense.
Students in schools and colleges wearing a headscarf /hijab attending class is not disturbing “public order”, instead it is only their faith’s profession. Banning on hijab for Muslim girls violates their fundamental right to equality. Sanjay Hedge, a Senior advocate who appeared for petitioners who argued about rules that are prescribed on wearing dupatta for women, if a student wants to cover head with it.
What is the Order of Government?
On February 5, 2022, the Karnataka government has been passed an order that exercises powers under Section 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983. It grants states to issue these directives to all the government institutions of education to follow. In 2013, under the same provision, state-issued directives to make uniforms provisions and make it compulsory for all education institutions. Referring to it, the latest directive said that a hijab/headscarf is not a uniform’s part. It also states that wearing a hijab or headscarf is not he mandatory religious practice for girls of the Muslim religion.
This order took refuge in three cases that are decided by High Courts of different states to hold the banning of headscarves is not violating fundamental rights that are particularly freedom of religion. However, petitioners argued that the circumstances and facts of these cases are cannot be applied to the Hijab Controversy case in Karnataka. This means that the Karnataka High Court is required to decide whether wearing a headscarf or hijab is an essential religious practice or not for Muslim girls.