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Overview Of A Controversial Topic: Hijab Issue

The history is in verge of repeating itself just like in shah bano case in which court held that Muslim women has same rights to enjoy as women of other faith has. Hijab issue has gathered lot of attention not only in state of Karnataka but its echoes are being heard all over India. The Hijab has gathered lot of attention and has become a matter of debate in India.

Background Of Whole Controversy:
On January 1, six female students from government PU College for girls claim in press conference that they were not allowed to attend the class for last 15 days because they were wearing Hijab in the class which was not the case when they join the college a year ago. The press conference was organized by the Campus Front of India

After that bjp MLA who heads the committee of the government college held meeting with Girls parents and other stakeholders and informed them about rules and regulations of the college of not wearing anything which may represent their religion, but the girls refused and decide to stay away from classroom.

The issue quickly turned provocative when Hindu students came in colleges wearing saffron shawls, and right-wing groups on both sides making controversial statements. Fearing violence, the state government of Karnataka shut down high schools and colleges.

The students then decided to go to high court and file writ petition and also approached to National human right commission. The issue quickly catches the fire and other political leader get involved in this controversy .Kundapura MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty also held meeting with parents and told them to comply with rules till the government take the final decision in the matter.

On other hand girls student replied that how can someone force them to not to wear Hijab followed by sudden change to bar Hijab. Cases of similar matter have been reported in several colleges in Udipi district of Karnataka.

Government Stance On The Issue:
  • The Karnataka government has issue a notice to comply with uniform code prescribe by the committee of the college.
  • The department has issued circular appealing students to comply with rules till the high court pronounces its verdict on the matter.

Karnataka High Court Stance On The Issue:
On March 15, Bench comprising of chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Krishna Dixit and D.M Kazi upheld the ban on Hijab in the state educational institution. And it was decided that Hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam.

Legal Prespective:

Is wearing Hijab protected by article 25 of the constitution (Right to freedom of conscience)?

  •  Taking the help of Bijoe Emmanuel VS State of Kerala, 1986 , Muslim students argued that wearing Hijab is Part of their conscientious belief, it must be protected. The court stated that wearing Hijab is not a religious practice. Rather it is a cultural practice. It cannot be regarded as quintessential aspect of religion.

Is wearing Hijab an essential religious practice under Islam?

  • THE COURT held that wearing Hijab is not an important religious practice. It did not merit protection under article 25 of the Indian constitution.

Does the Ban on the Hijab in Educational institution violate the Right to Freedom of Expression and the Right to Privacy?

  • The honorable Court held that the ban on the Hijab in State educational institutions did not violate people Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression given under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution

Supreme Court Decision:
The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the ban of wearing of Hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka – with one judge(justice Hemant Gupta) affirming that the state government is authorized to enforce uniform in schools and the other(Shudhanshu Dhulia) calling Hijab a matter of choice that cannot be stifled by the state.

Written By: Harshita Rawat - 1st year law student at (Dr.Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University)

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