All India Muslim Personal Law Board Response to Karnataka High Court Order Restricting the Wearing of Headscarves in Colleges in the State (Mar. 28, 2022)

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Lucknow, India responded to the Karnataka High Court’s decision that ḥijāb is not "essential" in Islam, and that state colleges are authorized to bar Muslim women from wearing it. The Board states that the High Court’s verdict contradicted Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, gender, caste, class, or place of birth, and guarantees individual liberty to all citizens, as well as the right to identity. They thus conclude that this decision is an injustice against the constitutional freedoms of Indian citizens. The Board also expresses concern with secular state courts making decisions on what is or is not essential religious practice, stating that “it is not in the jurisdiction of the courts to decide this but that of the ulemas [sic] and scholars.” They further note that the Indian Constitution accords every individual the right to determine what is essential in their religion. On a related matter, they add that the establishment of a common Uniform Civil Code—as has been further proposed—in a multi-religious country will interfere in the fundamental rights of religious freedom, and further negatively impact the religious and individual rights and freedoms of Muslim citizens in Indian. 

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