Karnataka High Court Order Restricting the Wearing of Headscarves in Colleges in the State in response to the Petitions Challenging the Ḥijāb Ban (Mar. 15, 2022)

The Karnataka High Court ruled that the ḥijāb is not "essential" in Islam and upheld a Government Order dated 05.02.2022, issued under sections 7 & 133 of the Karnataka Education Act of 1983. That order directs the College Development Committees all over the State to prescribe the ‘Student Uniform,’ presumably in terms of Rule 11 of Karnataka Educational Institutions Rules of 1995 (Classification, Regulation & Prescription of Curricula, etc.), which bans headscarves in classrooms. A full bench of Justices on the High Court sat to hear several petitions filed by Muslim students who attend government pre-university colleges in the region and who were alleged prejudice from the ban. The Court issued this order, restricting girls from wearing headscarves, or ḥijāb, deeming it as not “essential” in Islam arguing that “what is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in court,'' and as a use of religious symbols by students in governmental educational institutions that have established dress codes noting that Muslim women’s  ḥijāb goes against their “constitutional spirit of ‘equal opportunity’ of ‘public participation’ and ‘positive secularism’.”

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