Karnataka High Court 

Karnataka High Court 

Karnataka hijab row: Larger HC bench formed, to hear case on Thursday

Bengaluru, February 9, 2022

Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on Wednesday formed a full-fledged larger bench as per the request of a single-judge bench to hear the slew of petitions filed by students of Pre-University Colleges on wearing of hijab to classrooms.

The larger bench comprising the Chief Justice, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Khaji Jaibunnesa Mohiyuddin will take up the matter for hearing on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, the single-judge bench headed by Justice Dixit, which heard the matter, which has snowballed into a major crisis in the state and discussed at international levels, decided that the matter should be heard by the larger bench. It directed the High Court Registrar to submit the documents and petitions immediately to the Chief Justice as the matter is of utmost importance and needs to be heard urgently.

The single-judge bench opined that there are questions related to the Constitution, there are aspects related to personal laws, and half a dozen court verdicts have been discussed in connection with the case.

"I have verified more than 12 verdicts in this regard. There are arguments and counter-arguments related to the case. Let the Chief Justice decide on handing over the matter to an extended bench," Justice Dixit stated while referring the case to a larger bench.

However, the bench refused to give an interim order even as petitioners pleaded to give a ruling on wearing of hijab to classes as only two months are left for this academic year. The larger bench is expected to give an interim order on Thursday in connection with wearing of hijab and uniform.

As many as seven petitions have been submitted to the court so far challenging the government circular of making uniform compulsory and upholding the decision taken by the college managements and development committee regarding wearing of hijab.

Meanwhile, State Minority Education Institutions Association President Mohammad Imtiaz has submitted a complaint to the State Police Chief Praveen Sood regarding minorities being targeted in connection with hijab row.

"The protests are targeting minorities. A few of them are trying to destroy the law and order situation. They are attempting to create unrest in the society and create a controversy. Raghupathy Bhat, BJP MLA who is also President of School Development Management Committee of Udupi Pre University Women's College, is responsible for the crisis," the complaint stated.

The hijab row started last month with a few students of Udupi Government Pre-University College wearing hijab being denied permission to attend classes. The college authorities maintain that the students who used to come without hijabs had suddenly started coming in hijab. The students later went on a protest refusing to attend classes without hijab. The issue became a controversy and spread to other districts, leading to tension and even violence.

The state government on Tuesday declared a three-day holiday in the wake of the tensions.


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