Ban on Hijab to continue in Karnataka schools, colleges until SC verdict
Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister, BC Nagesh, said, "The hijab ban will remain in effect. As you are aware, the Karnataka Education Act and Rules prohibit the use of religious items in the classroom. We clearly state that no student can wear a hijab inside the classroom."
Following the Supreme Court's split decision on the hijab issue, Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh said that the Karnataka High Court order upholds the state government's ban on hijab on school and college campuses would remain valid.
The Supreme Court issued a split decision on a batch of petitions challenging a Karnataka High Court decision refusing to lift the ban on hijab in state educational institutions.
While Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the high court appeals, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed them.
While taking to the media, Nagesh said, "When a global movement against hijab and burqa and women's freedom is a hot topic, the Karnataka government had hoped for a better judgement to bring order to the education system; however, a split verdict has arrived."
The matter has now been referred to a higher bench, according to Nagesh, who added that the Karnataka government would await the verdict of a higher bench.
"The Karnataka High Court's decision will stand. According to the Karnataka Education Act and Rules, no religious symbols will be permitted in our schools or colleges. Our schools and colleges will operate under the Karnataka High Court's decision. Children will be required to attend school as scheduled," Nagesh said.
"The hijab ban will remain in effect. As you are aware, the Karnataka Education Act and Rules prohibit the use of religious items in the classroom. We make it clear that no student can wear a hijab inside the classroom," added Nagesh.
Karnataka Home Minister, Araga Jnanendra, said that he saw the hijab verdict in the media, in which one judge dismissed the petition while the other dismissed the Karnataka High Court order.
"The verdict is split, and the case has been referred to the Chief Justice's bench. It is dependent on the CJI's decision. The Karnataka government is awaiting the CJI's decision," said Jnanendra.
On January 1 this year, six female students from a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by the Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal town to protest the college authorities' refusal to allow them to enter classrooms while wearing hijabs.
This was four days after they requested permission from the principal to wear a hijab in classes where it was not permitted. Previously, students wore headscarves to campus but entered the classroom after removing them, according to college principal Rudre Gowda.
"The institution had no such rule regarding hijab wear, and no one had worn it to class in the previous 35 years. Outside forces supported the students who came with the demand," Gowda said.
The High Court upheld the Karnataka government's decision to prohibit hijab on school and college campuses.