Hijab Ban: In Interim Order, Karnataka HC Says No 'Religious Dress' Until Matter Decided

The advocates appearing for the petitioners objected to the interim order, saying it amounts to "suspension of our rights".

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New Delhi: Hearing a petition on the right of students to wear a hijab to schools, the Karnataka high court on Thursday passed an interim order allowing the opening of colleges but that no student should insist on wearing “religious clothes” until the time the court decides the matter.

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S. Dixit and Jaibunnisa M. Khazi was hearing the matter after it was referred to a larger bench. The hearing will continue on Monday at 2:30 pm.

The advocates appearing for the petitioners objected to the interim order, saying it amounts to “suspension of our rights”, the court said it is a matter of a few days and rose for the day.

The issue began in December last year, when a few students who wear the hijab to a government pre-university college in Udupi were barred from entering. In other colleges, some Hindu students started coming to the college wearing saffron scarves as a ‘protest’. News reports have found the role of Hindutva groups in mobilising these ‘counter’ protests.

The state government said it was looking into the matter and passed an order saying all students must adhere to the uniform. As the Karnataka high court was hearing the matter, chief minister Basavraj Bommai on Tuesday ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges in Karnataka for three days due to rising tensions over the issue.

Supreme Court may hear matter

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would consider a submission seeking the listing of a plea for transferring a case on the hijab row from the Karnataka high court to itself.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said the high court is seized of the case and should be allowed to continue with the hearing and decide it.

Seeking transfer of the case and hearing by a nine-judge bench at the top court, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said, “The problem is that schools and colleges are closed. Girls are being stoned. It’s spreading across the country.”

After being told by Sibal that he did not want any order and only listing of the plea, the CJI said, “We will see.”

(With PTI inputs)

Note: This is a developing story. Details will be added as they become available.