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Hijab Ban case: SC directs split decision on Hijab ban in Institutes, matter will be placed ahead of CJI

Oct 13, 2022

Months after the controversy regarding the ban on hijabs erupted in the state, the Supreme Court bench on Thursday delivered a split verdict in the Karnataka hijab ban case, with a “divergence of opinion” between the two judges.

The split verdict was delivered in the Karnataka hijab row matter when the Supreme Court was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court judgment refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.

Having contradictory views on the hijab ban issues, Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the appeals against the high court verdict, while Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed them. “There is a divergence of opinion,” Justice Gupta, who was heading the bench, said at the outset while pronouncing the verdict.

In view of the split verdict, the bench directed that the appeals against the high court verdict be placed before the Chief Justice of India for constituting an appropriate larger bench. The next SC hearing in front of CJI UU Lalit is set to take place soon.

While pronouncing the judgment, Justice Dhulia said the high court had taken the wrong path and that wearing Hijab is ultimate “A matter of choice, nothing more, nothing less”. He said his main thrust in the judgment is the concept of essential religious practice which was not essential to the dispute.

Saying that his focus was on the education of the girl child, especially in rural areas, Justice Dhulia asked, “Are we making her life any better”.

While allowing the appeals against the high court verdict, Justice Dhulia said he has quashed the state government’s February 5, 2022 order which banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

Many students were protesting against the hijab ban in Karnataka educational institutes, with hijab-wearing girls missing their classes and exams, urging the government to lift the ban. Questions were also raised in pleas against the rudraksha and turbans worn by students

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