Karnataka Hijab Ban: Students Approach SC for Interim Relief to Write Exams

Advocate Shadan Farasat told CJI Chandrachud that the students had already lost a year since the Karnataka government banned 'religious clothing' in classrooms and did not wish to lose one more.

New Delhi: Students in Karnataka, which has banned the hijab in classrooms, have moved the Supreme Court seeking interim relief so that they can write exams at government colleges.

In March last year, the Karnataka high court upheld the ban. In October, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, delivered a split verdict on the batch of pleas challenging the Karnataka government order empowering the state to prevent students from wearing “religious clothes” from entering the classroom.

As no consensus could be reached by the pair of judges, the matter was referred to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for appropriate directions.

Multiple news reports since then have illustrated how the ban has adversely affected Muslim girls’ right to education.

Today, when advocate Shadan Farast mentioned the matter before CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and said that they girls are requesting relief so that they can sit for their March 9 examinations, the CJI asked, “Why are they prevented from taking the examination?”.

“Because they are wearing headscarfs,” Farasat said, according to LiveLaw.

The CJI said he will take a call on the matter.

Farasat noted that the students had already lost a year and did not wish to lose one more.

In January 2022, six students of the Government Women’s PU college in Udupi, Karnataka, were not allowed to enter their classroom because they were dressed in hijabs.

As the students pressed their demand to be allowed to attend classes in hijabs, the issue grew in magnitude; Muslim women students took to the streets in protest; right-wing students, in response, were seen demonstrating in saffron shawls and chanting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram‘, and the controversy soon spread to other institutions in the state, leading to strikes and closures of educational institutions.