Karnataka hijab ban: SC says it will hear case at ‘appropriate time’, assures protection of rights
This came a day after the Karnataka High Court had told students not to wear ‘religious clothes’ in colleges during the pendency of the matter.
The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will hear the case about the hijab ban in Karnataka at an “appropriate time”, Bar and Bench reported.
“Definitely we will examine and we will have to protect constitutional rights,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said. “Let us see [at] appropriate time...We will hear.”
A student from Karnataka had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the interim observations by the state’s High Court telling students not to wear “religious clothes” in colleges during the pendency of the case.
Appearing for the petitioner, lawyer Devdatt Kamat said that the High Court’s observations have far-reaching implications not just for Muslims but also for other religious groups.
“For example, the Sikhs, they wear turbans,” he told the court. “This means a complete suspension of Article 25 [freedom of religion] rights.” The lawyer said that the Muslim students are only seeking permission to wear hijabs of the same colour as their uniforms.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the High Court’s order had not been released yet. The court said that it will take up the matter at an appropriate time if exams are getting affected by the protests.
“Don’t spread these things to a national level...We will interfere only at an appropriate time,” Ramana told Kamat, according to NDTV.
The petitioner contended that the High Court’s observations put the “choice of conscience” of Muslim women students into question, Live Law reported. She said that right to wear a hijab falls within the right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, the right to privacy and the right to freedom of religion.
On February 5, the Karnataka government passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. The petitioner claimed that this order violates the constitutional rights to equality, life and protection from discrimination.
Over the past few days, Hindu students and mobs of men have protested against women wearing hijabs to several colleges in Karnataka. At some places, videos have emerged of men wearing saffron scarves heckling and intimidating Muslim students.