India is always a land of various religions and cultures. People are divided on
the basis of caste. Discrimination on the basis of caste, color, race, and
gender is a debatable topic that caught the fire when the "Hijab Controversy
took place. The issue arose, that "is hijab is an essential religious practice
for Muslims in India
". The topic was first directed to Karnataka High Court and
later on diverted to the Supreme Court of India.
In PU college in Udupai, the Muslim girls wearing hijab were restricted to enter
the classrooms. The students protested against this rule and five girls filed a
writ petition in Karnataka High Court and also approached the National Human
Rights Commission. The students contended that they cannot be forced not to
enter the classrooms on the ground of wearing a hijab. The Karnataka government
issued an order that students have to comply with the dress code prescribed by
the College Development Committees.
The four issues arose:
Is Hijab essential in IslamThe most important issue before the Karnataka High Court was whether wearing a
hijab is an essential part of religious practice in Islam? Secondly, is the
hijab comes under the ambit of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution? Article 25
of the Constitution ensures the Freedom of conscience and free profession,
practice and propagation of religion subject to public order, morality, and
health. This right is not considered a sacrosanct right.
The Karnataka High Court bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, and Justices
JM Khazi and Krishna Dixit ruled that "wearing a hijab was not an essential part
The bench said, "We are of the considered opinion that the wearing of the hijab
by Muslim women does not form a part of the essential religious practice in the
Another question that arose was whether the fixing of uniforms by
school administration for students is violative of Articles 19 and
21 of the Indian Constitution?
The court held that the rule of wearing uniform was in existence since gurukul
days. So, the bench held that the school uniform is only a reasonable
restriction that is constitutionally permissible and hence it does not violate
Articles 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. It was further added that the
school uniform ceases to be uniform if the same color hijab is allowed.
Is uniform discriminatory?Another question that made the court discuss upon was, whether the order passed
by the government on 5th February to ban wearing hijab on campus was incompetent
and arbitrary. It will be violative of Articles 14 & 15 of the Constitution of
India i.e. equality before the law and protection against discrimination on the
ground of religion. It was held by the Karnataka High Court that, the government
has the power to issue the directions related to ban of clothes that may cause
disturbance to peace, harmony and public order. The High Court upheld the
government order and its competence for issuing such an order.
Whether the teachers harass the students?Another issue that arose was that the principal, teachers, and the panel members
are responsible for banning the hijab in classrooms, is it wrong against the
students? The court held that the idea of uniform brings uniformity and
homogeneity. The secularism under the Indian Constitution needs to be maintained
to protect the basic structure of the Constitution.
The court upheld the decision of the government passed on 5th February. It was
held by the Karnataka High Court that, "wearing hijab is not an essential
religious practice under Islamic faith." It is not protected under Article 25 of
the Indian Constitution. Later on, the case moved to the Supreme Court of India
which held that "wearing hijab is the essential religious practice under Islamic