After the hijab row in Karnataka took a violent turn, calm prevailed on Wednesday in the educational situations ordered to be closed down and a full bench of the High Court will hear the pleas challenging the ban on the headscarf while protests in support of the religious practice broke out in some more states.
Karnataka HC said, “We are considering the issue of whether the wearing of headscarf comes within the Fundamental Rights.” “We are also considering whether wearing a headscarf is an essential part of religious practice,” HC added.
All eyes are set on the three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court hearing the petitions questioning the ban on wearing of ‘hijabs’ (headscarves) by students in colleges. Full bench of the Karnataka high court adjourns the hearing to Monday, after hearing senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Devadatt Kamat. Police have been directed to ensure law & order while maintaining extreme restraint in dealing with students.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said, “Students shouldn’t fall prey to communal elements that are hell-bent on making the hijab issue a tool to disturb communal harmony.”
Adv Kamat said, “Purdah is not essential but covering of head by scarf is obligatory,’ Adv Kamat refers to Holy Quran, Adv Kamat referred to Verse 24.31 of Holy Quran. The prescription of headscarf he is specifically prescribed in Holy Quran, he said.
“It is, thus, seen from the reported material that there is almost unanimity amongst Muslim scholars that purdah is not essential but covering of head by scarf is obligatory”, Kamat quotes from the Madras HC decision Ajmal Khan Case.
Adv Kamat said that the GO is based on a weak foundation. He now takes the bench to the decisions cited in the GO. The first one is the Kerala HC judgment which refused to permit a Muslim student to wear a headscarf in a pvt school. “Ultimately, the Court held that a private minority institution cannot be forced to allow this,” Adv Kamat said.
“I will be very brief and my arguments will be for considering interim relief. These are students who have been going to college wearing headscarf till February 3 when they were stopped and told unless you remove your headscarf you cannot go in,” Adv Kamat started his submission.
Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar said “Disastrous that some people are trying to gain political mileage out of Hijab row, we should avoid incidents that can further divide society. It’s unfortunate that some people are trying to gain political mileage out of it. Indian culture & Constitution don’t teach us to divide people on caste and religious lines.”
Adv Hegde pointed out that the Motor Vehicles Rules exempt Sikhs who wear turbans from the requirement of the helmet while riding bikes. “Similarly, in the Supreme Court rules, there are provisions for pardanashin women,” he added.”There is prima facie case, and a balance of convenience in my favour, denial to attend college will have serious consequences,” said Adv Hegde.
Constitutional rights cannot be left to the adjudication of politicians whether they are in power or not or whether they are elected or unelected: Adv Hegde
Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi requests media not to report oral observations and wait for the Court order. Three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and also comprising Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi begins hearing various petitions.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) vice president Shivanand Tiwari has hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling Nitish Kumar a great socialist (Samajwadi) leader of the country. “Nitish Kumar did not have a political successor. Hence, anyone can give a certificate of a great socialist leader to him. You are free to recognize anyone as a socialist leader but I believe this is not the way to judge a person if he is a socialist or not,” Tiwari said.
Congress MP Manickam Tagore on Thursday moved an adjournment notice in the Lok Sabha to discuss the incident of replacing the National Flag with the RSS/ABVP flag in an educational institution in Karnataka which is tantamount to insulting the Tricolour. The MP has sought to direct the government to take strict action against the violators. The incident pertains to Karnataka where a few people are seen hoisting the RSS flag in the college campus amid protests on the hijab row, Manickam Tagore said.
The hijab row started last month with a few students of Udupi Government Pre-University College wearing hijab being denied permission to attend classes. The college authorities maintained that the students, who used to come without hijabs, suddenly started coming in hijab. The students later went on to protest refusing to attend classes without hijab. The issue became a controversy and spread to other districts, leading to tension and even violence. In an observation that came in the backdrop of a raging debate over the hijab row in Karnataka, the first bench of Acting Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthi bemoaned that of late, certain forces have raised controversies relating to dress code and it is spreading all over India.
Pointing out the fact that India is a secular country, the ACJ said: “What is found from the current affairs is nothing but an effort to divide the country in the name of religion.” The ACJ made the observations while hearing a batch of PIL petitions filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan of Srirangam in the Tiruchirapalli district.