The Karnataka High Court today ruled that wearing of Hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith. Muslim women students had told the court that wearing the hijab was a fundamental right guaranteed under India’s constitution.
Wearing of Hijab is not an essential religious practice of the Islamic faith, the Karnataka High Court ruled today. After eleven days of the hearing, the High Court had reserved its judgment on February 25.
Prescription of uniform is a reasonable restriction on fundamental rights under Article 25, the court said. Late last month, the Karnataka government had contended before the High Court that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and preventing it does not violate the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.
No case is made out for invalidating the government order of February 5, the court said. On February 5, the Karnataka government had banned “clothes that were against law and order” and on February 10 the High Court temporarily banned all religious outfits as it heard petitions challenging the restrictions.
In a blow to the protesting Muslim students, the High Court dismissed writ petitions filed by them seeking permission to wear Hijab in colleges. The controversy over the hijab erupted in Karnataka late last year as students at a school in Udupi refused to remove headscarves and stop their use despite requests from teachers. Five students then went to court.
Hearing before the full bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi was conducted for 11 days.