New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear next week the plea challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict, which upheld the right of educational institutions to ban wearing of hijab on college campuses.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana saying the petitions have not been listed for a long time. “The girls are losing out on their studies. This matter was filed long back,” Bhushan said.
The Chief Justice replied that it will be listed some time next week. Bhushan mentioned the matter on behalf of the appellants who have challenged the high court verdict in the top court.
On March 24, the Supreme Court declined to give any specific date to hear a plea challenging the Karnataka High Court order, which dismissed all petitions seeking direction for permission to wear hijab in classrooms.
Senior advocate Devadutt Kamat mentioned one of the cases on behalf of a petitioner, a Muslim girl student, and sought urgent listing of the matter. Kamat insisted that exams are approaching and urged the court to urgently hear the matter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said this has nothing to do with exams, and told Kamat not to sensationalise the matter. Kamat contended that the girl students are not being allowed to enter the schools, and they will lose one year. However, the bench moved on to the next item.
On March 16, the Supreme Court declined to grant an urgent hearing on a plea challenging the Karnataka High Court order, which held that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.
Then, senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, representing the petitioners, mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana. Hedge said there is urgency in the matter, as several girls have to appear in exams. The bench said others have also mentioned and the court will look into the matter.
A plea filed through advocate Adeel Ahmed and Rahamathullah Kothwal said the high court order creates an unreasonable classification between the non-Muslim female students and the Muslim female students and thereby is in straight violation of the concept of secularism which forms the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. The petitioners are Mohamed Arif Jameel and others.
The plea said: “The impugned order is also in sheer violation of the Article 14, 15, 19, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and also violates the core principles of the International Conventions that India is a signatory to.”.
It further added, “Being aggrieved by the impugned Government Order, as it is in violation of Indian constitution, the petitioner had approached the Hon’ble High Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) Petition challenging the validity of the same”.