3 Mar 2023

Hijab Row: Supreme Court Will Hear After Holi Plea Seeking Permission To Wear Hijab During Exams

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear after the Holi vacations a plea by a group of girl students seeking permission to appear in the annual examinations in pre-university colleges in Karnataka wearing hijab.

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice J. B. Pardiwala and Justice P.S. Narasimha on Friday declined the plea for an urgent hearing and said it would consider the interim plea of the petitioner girl students by constituting a bench to hear the petition after the Holi vacations .

The counsel appearing for the petitioners raised the matter during special mention and prayed for early hearing. The advocate said that he had requested to hear the matter in January and February as well.

Annual exam from 9 March

Justice Chandrachud, who was presiding over the bench, said that he may hear the matter after Holi. On this, the petitioner pleaded that the examination is to start from next March 09.

During the last hearing on February 22, advocate Shadan Farasat, on behalf of the petitioners, claimed that the girl students have to appear in the annual examinations in March. The girl students want to be allowed to appear in that examination wearing the hijab.

One more year will be wasted if no relief is given

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that the girl students have already suffered a loss of one year. If no relief is given then one more year will be wasted.

Advocate Shadan Farasat argued before the bench that these girl students had already got themselves transferred to private colleges, but they have to go to government colleges to appear in the examinations. The learned counsel prayed for interim relief in the matter. A similar request was made on behalf of the girl students on January 23 as well.

SC had given a split verdict in Oct last year

The apex court had on October 13, 2022 given a split verdict on the legality of Karnataka government's ban on wearing hijab in pre-university colleges. The matter is likely to be heard by a larger bench in view of split verdict..

The apex court bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta (retd) and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia had said that since there is a difference of opinion, the matter would be referred to the Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench for consideration.

Justice Gupta had dismissed petitions challenging the March 15, 2022 order of the Karnataka High Court, which had held that allowing a community to wear its religious symbols was contrary to secularism.

Justice Dhulia, unlike Justice Gupta, dissented in his judgment allowing the appeal and setting aside the notification issued by the state government on February 05, 2022, banning the wearing of hijab in colleges.

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