Hijab not an essential practice of Islam, rules Karnataka High Court

What is the News?

Karnataka High Court has pronounced its verdict on the petitions related to the row over wearing hijab in educational institutions.

What were the issues before the Karnataka High Court?

The questions before the High Court were:

– Whether the wearing of the hijab is essential religious practice under Islam.

– Whether the prescription of school uniforms is violative of fundamental rights and 

– Whether the Karnataka government order (which barred students from wearing clothing that could ‘disturb the peace, harmony and law and order), apart from being incompetent and manifestly arbitrary, violates Articles 14 and 15.

What was the Court verdict on these issues?

Firstly, the Wearing of a hijab (headscarf) by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practices in the Islamic faith, and it is not protected under the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

Secondly, the prescription of school uniforms does not violate either the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) or the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. Moreover. 

– The restriction against wearing hijab in educational institutions is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible, which the students cannot object to.

Thirdly, the court upheld the legality of the Karnataka Government’s order prescribing the wearing of uniforms in schools and pre-university colleges under provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983.

Source: This post is based on the article “Hijab not an essential practice of Islam, rules Karnataka High Court” published in The Hindu on 16th Mar 2022.

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