A group of students on Wednesday moved to the Supreme Court seeking permission to wear hijab while they appear for examinations in Karnataka government institutes, the Hindustan Times reported.

The students said they had joined private colleges following the state government’s ban on the hijab in February last year but the examinations would be held at state-run institutes.

Advocate Shadan Farasat told Chief Justice DY Chandrachud that the examinations are scheduled to begin on March 9, according to the newspaper.

“Some of them [the students] have already lost a year due to the ban,” Farasat said. “All that we are requesting at the moment is to allow them to take exams.”

Justice Chandrachud then said that he will take a call on listing the case soon.

Also Read:

One year of Karnataka’s war on Muslim women’s right to learn

Karnataka hijab ban

Last year, the Karnataka government had issued an order asking students to only wear the uniform prescribed at their schools and pre-university colleges. If a uniform was not prescribed, it asked students not to wear any clothing that would disturb “equality, integrity and public law and order”.

This order was passed after several hijab-wearing girls in the state were denied entry into their educational institutions. The move had led to widespread protests across the country.

On March 15, the Karnataka High Court upheld the government order. The judgement was then challenged before the Supreme Court.

The petitioners have argued that the ban on hijab violated the fundamental rights of Muslim students guaranteed under Articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of expression), 21 (right to privacy and dignity) and 25 (right to religion and conscience) of the Constitution.

In October, the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court order.

Justice Hemant Gupta upheld the ban on hijab, saying it was a “reasonable restriction” that promoted uniformity and discipline. However, the other judge on the bench, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, said that stopping anyone from wearing the veil hurt their dignity, privacy and freedom of conscience as guaranteed by the Constitution.