SC Declines Immediate Listing of Plea Seeking Hearing on Karnataka Hijab Issue

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The Chief Justice said the new bench to hear the matter will be created after the Holi break.

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday turned down a plea to immediately list a plea seeking permission to allow students to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.

A woman lawyer mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The lawyer submitted that exams are five days later and added they had come earlier also, and sought urgent listing of the plea.

The bench told the lawyer, “You come on the last date, what can we do?” The Chief Justice said the new bench to hear the matter will be created after the Holi break.

On February 22, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a plea for hearing by a group of students seeking permission to allow them to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.

Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing on behalf of the students, had then submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that they had to appear in annual examinations beginning from March 9 in government colleges.

The top court queried the counsel, why are they prevented from taking the examination? The counsel replied because of the headscarf and further added that the students had already lost one year and if no relief was granted, they would lose another year. The bench said the plea for listing would be examined.

On January 23, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a plea to constitute a three-judge bench to consider petitions challenging ban on hijab in classrooms of pre university colleges in Karnataka.

The Supreme Court, in October last year, gave a split verdict on petitions challenging the validity of ban on hijab worn by some Muslim girl students in classrooms of pre-university colleges in Karnataka. The split verdict was delivered by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

Justice Gupta, retired now, upheld the Karnataka government circular and dismissed the appeals against the Karnataka High Court judgment. However, Justice Dhulia quashed the Karnataka government’s decision to ban wearing of hijab inside classrooms of pre-university colleges, saying that the Constitution is also a document of trust and it is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.

Justice Dhulia, in his judgment, said: “We live in a democracy and under the Rule of Law, and the laws which govern us must pass muster the Constitution of India. Amongst many facets of our Constitution, one is Trust. Our Constitution is also a document of Trust. It is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.”

The bench had then said since there is divergence of views, the matter would be posted before the Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench. — IANS

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