Hijab row: Plea goes to 3-judge bench, K’taka Chief Justice

Bengaluru: Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi 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 from Thursday noon at 2.30 pm.

Earlier, the single 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 the matter to 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 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 in connection with the 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 management and development committee regarding the wearing of the hijab.

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 have suddenly started coming in hijab. The students later went on 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 declared a three-day holiday in wake of the tensions.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Deccan Herald)

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