The Supreme Court issued a split decision in the Karnataka hijab ban case on Thursday, citing a “divergence in view,” according to Justice Hemant Gupta.
The decision in this case was handed down on Thursday by a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia. After listening to arguments in the case for ten days, the court had reserved its decision on the pleas as of September 22.
A group of Muslim girls at the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi, Karnataka, had petitioned for permission to wear the hijab in class, but the Karnataka high court had dismissed their case on March 15 on the grounds that the hijab is nVerdict ot an essential component of Islamic faith.
The HC upheld a state order issued on February 5 that suggested wearing the hijab can be restricted in government colleges where uniforms are required and ruled that such curbs under standards for college uniforms are “constitutionally permissible” while holding that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practise in Islam and that freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions.
Some Muslim students filed an appeal against this, arguing that the right to wear a headscarf falls within the category of “expression” and is therefore guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
They argued that the ‘right to conscience’ under Article 25 of the Constitution, which is an individual right, protects the freedom to wear a hijab and that the HC shouldn’t have used the ‘Essential Religious Practices Test’.