The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to list a plea for an urgent hearing seeking to implement a common dress code in educational institutions across India, reported Bar and Bench.

Petitioner Nikhil Upadhyay, son of Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, sought a common dress code for staff members and students in all registered and recognised educational institutions “to secure equality of status and social equality”.

Ashwini Upadhyay wanted the plea to be listed with petitions against the Karnataka High Court order upholding the state government’s ban on wearing hijabs in educational institutions. The court will hear petitions challenging the hijab ban next week.

At Thursday’s hearing, the Supreme Court rebuked Nikhil Upadhyay for numerous petitions filed by him, reported Live Law.

“If every day you file a PIL, we’ll have to constitute a special court,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said. “How many times have you filed litigation? What is the urgency? Everyday you file a PIL? Hijab matter was filed long back. Sorry.”

Ramana added, “Every case you cannot file a PIL. Parliament is not functioning?”

Nikhil Upadhyay said that he filed the petition as protests were held on February 10 in Delhi against the hijab ban in Karnataka colleges.

“Educational institutions are secular public places and are meant to impart knowledge and wisdom employment, good health and contribute to nation building, not to follow essential and non-essential religious practices,” he had submitted.

This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has rebuked Nikhil Upadhyay for filing petitions.

In April, the chief justice had made similar remarks related to another petition filed by Upadhyay seeking urgent listing of his plea to deport illegal migrants, Live Law reported.

“Mr Upadhyay, everyday I have to hear your case only?” Ramana had said. “All the problems under the sun, Parliament members issue, nomination issue, election reforms, etc. These are all political issues, you go to the government.”

Hijab ban

The controversy erupted during December and January when a group of Muslim students of the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Udupi city were not allowed to attend classes for being dressed in hijab. The students staged a protest, and similar demonstrations were held in other parts of Karnataka.

Hindu students and mobs of men protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes. 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.

On February 5, the Karnataka government passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. The students moved the High Court against the ban.

On March 15, the Karnataka High Court had upheld the state government’s ban on hijabs in schools and colleges and held that the headscarves were not essential to Islam. A group of students had then approached the Supreme Court challenging the order.

Their petition contended that many Muslim girls were dropping out of schools and colleges in view of the High Court order.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s verdict.

The board contended that scriptures in the Quran mandate the hijab and that the High Court’s order was discriminatory to Muslim girls and women.