‘Wait for two days’: Supreme Court says on plea to list appeals challenging Karnataka High Court hijab ruling


The Supreme Court Tuesday said it will consider listing for hearing appeals challenging the Karnataka High Court order in the hijab ban matter and asked a counsel who requested it to wait. “I will list. Wait for two days,” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana told senior advocate Meenakshi Arora when she mentioned the matter.

The court is seized of few appeals against the Karnataka High Court order, including some by students and one by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. In the application seeking an urgent hearing, the appellant said hijab-wearing students were being denied the opportunity to sit for exams.

Stating that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions, a full bench of the Karnataka High Court had on March 15 dismissed a batch of petitions filed by Muslim girls studying in pre-university colleges in the state’s Udupi seeking the right to wear the scarves in classrooms.

The court also upheld an order issued on February 5 by the state, which suggested that wearing hijabs can be restricted in government colleges where uniforms are prescribed and ruled that such curbs under norms for college uniforms are “constitutionally permissible”.

Responding to a request in March to list the matter urgently as it would otherwise not be possible for the girl students to take their exams, Chief Justice Ramana had said that “this has nothing to do with exams” and asked the parties not to sensationalise it.