Allowing Hijab may help expose other students to diversity: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said that allowing Muslim girl students to wear the Hijab in schools and colleges could be seen as an opportunity to expose other students to diversity and become culturally sensitive.

The observation was made by Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, who is hearing appeals challenging a Karnataka High Court verdict that effectively upheld the ban on wearing Hijab in government schools and colleges, along with Justice Hemant Gupta.

Justice Dhulia pondered an alternative perspective to the arguments against allowing the wearing of hijab by Muslim girl students in schools and colleges, saying, “One can also say, this is an opportunity of being exposed to diversity. We have students from all cultures and religions. Be culturally sensitive towards them.”

The judge was responding to a submission made by Senior Advocate R Venkataramani, appearing for a teacher, who stated that teachers simply wanted free interaction with students without any walls of separation and assertions of identity.

“How will you prepare the students when they go out of the schools? When they face the world, they will face the great diversity of the country…diversity in culture, diversity in dress, diversity in cuisine. So, this can also be an opportunity to prepare them. It can be an opportunity to inculcate some values. That can also be a perspective,” it observed.

Hijab ban not changing Islam: K’taka Govt

The Karnataka government informed the Supreme Court that banning the hijab is not equivalent to altering the Islamic faith, as wearing the headscarf is not an essential religious practice.

“The fact is that not wearing hijab will not change the color of the religion. It cannot be said that the Islamic faith will change without the hijab. It is not a binding practice,” Karnataka advocate general P Navadgi argued before the top court.

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