NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will "take a call" on listing a plea to allow girls to sit for exams in Karnataka government schools while wearing the hijab.
Urging the bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha to list the plea before March 9, Advocate Shadan Farasat told the bench that the girls are not being allowed to take exams in government colleges while wearing hijab. He also added that the girl students have lost one year due to this.
"They have already lost one year. They don't want to lose one more year. The prayer is only to let them take part in the exam. I am not seeking any other directions. They are not allowed to take exams cause of the difference of opinions between justice Gupta & Dhulia. They are not being allowed to wear headscarves,” Farasat added.
“I will take a call on this,” the CJI said.
SC on January 23 had also agreed to consider setting up a three-judge bench for hearing pleas challenging Karnataka HC’s ruling of upholding the prohibition of wearing hijab in educational institutions of the state following a split verdict.
Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora had submitted before the bench headed by CJI
that although the girl students pursuant to the ban had started going to private institutions the interim directions were required to permit them to appear for exams that are conducted in govt colleges.
On a two-judge bench of Justices, Hemant Gupta (now retired) and Sudhanshu Dhulia October 13 had delivered a split verdict. While upholding the ban on the hijab, Justice Hemant Gupta in his judgment said that the practice of wearing hijab could be restricted by the state as per the Government order. In a diverging opinion, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia while quashing the Government Order said that it was against the constitutional value of fraternity and integrity.
The two-judge bench due to divergence in opinion asked for placing the pleas before the CJI for constituting an appropriate bench.
Remarking that the government order (GO) dated February 5 that directed the government schools in Karnataka to abide by the prescribed uniform and private schools to mandate uniform as decided by their Board of Management necessarily excluded all religious symbols visible to the naked eye, Justice Gupta said, “Anything worn by the students under his/her shirt cannot be said to be objectionable in terms of GO issued.”
“Under our Constitutional scheme, wearing a hijab should be simply a matter of choice. It may or may not be a matter of essential religious practice, but it still is, a matter of conscience, belief, and expression. If she wants to wear a hijab, even inside her classroom, she cannot be stopped, if it is worn as a matter of her choice, as it may be the only way her conservative family will permit her to go to school, and in those cases, her hijab is her ticket to education,” Justice Dhulia said. (AIR NEWS)