Karnataka will allow candidates to wear hijab during recruitment examinations to government services, The Times of India reported on Sunday.

The state’s Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar said that not allowing the headscarf would amount to infringing upon rights of individuals. The decision was announced ahead of recruitment examinations to a number of government services scheduled to be held on October 28 and 29, The Times of India reported.

In February last year, the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka had put a ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions through an order that outlawed clothings that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. This was after, in December 2021, a college in Udupi stopped six girls from attending classes for wrapping the headscarf. The girls staged a protest in the college and soon such demonstrations spread to other parts of the state.

The girls challenged the order in the Karnataka High Court, which upheld the ban. In its judgement, the High Court held that wearing hijab was not essential to Islam. The judgement was then challenged before the Supreme Court, which delivered a split verdict in October 2022. A two-judge bench said that the matter will be placed before the chief justice for his directions on the future course of action. The Supreme Court has not yet formed a bench to hear the matter.

After the Congress won Assembly elections in the state in May, the party’s lone Muslim woman MLA Kaneez Fatima had said that the ban will be lifted.