A Muslim student on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court to appeal against the Karnataka High Court’s judgement that upheld the ban on hijabs in educational institutes in the state, PTI reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi dismissed a group of petitions seeking the right to wear hijabs in classrooms. The court held that the hijab was not an essential feature of Islam and that the prescription of a uniform was “a reasonable restriction on fundamental rights”.
A special leave petition challenging the High Court’s verdict has been filed by a student, who was a petitioner in the case, India Today reported. In her plea, she has contended that the right to wear a hijab falls within the ambit of the right to privacy.
She argued that the high court committed an error by creating a dichotomy between freedoms of religion and conscience.
Petitioners’ lawyer Anas Tanwir said that the girls had not lost hope in courts and the Constitution. He wrote on Twitter that the petitioners will be moving to Supreme Court soon.
The High Court’s order had cited several portions of the Quran and other Islamic texts to back its judgement that the hijab was not mandatory for Muslim women.
“It is not that if the alleged practice of wearing hijab is not adhered to, those not wearing hijab become the sinners, Islam loses its glory and it ceases to be a religion,” the High Court said.
The court also held that prescribing a dress code for the students did not offend the “constitutionally protected category of rights” when they are religion-neutral and universally applicable.
The petitioners before the High Court, however, said on Tuesday that the verdict had denied Muslim women their fundamental rights.
“It is total injustice what we got today,” one of the petitioners said at a press conference. “We had so much hope in our judicial system, society...But we feel we have been betrayed by our own country.”
On February 5, the state government had passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. Some of the students had approached the High Court challenging the order.
For several weeks in February, Hindu students and mobs of men protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes at several places in Karnataka. At some colleges, Muslim students were heckled, while in another case, some men climbed up a flagpole to plant a saffron flag and broke into classrooms.