Supreme Court to decide on validity of Karnataka hijab ban this week | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will pronounce this week its verdict on the validity of the February 5 Karnataka government circular banning students from wearing religious clothing, including hijab, to state-run educational institutions.
While the Karnataka government had termed the circular a “secular decision” aimed at preventing students from getting embroiled in religion and making them study with an open mind, the Muslim side had invoked right to freedom of religion, right to privacy, right to dignity, and right of choice of clothes to question the circular’s validity.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia had reserved its verdict on a bunch of 26 pro-hijab petitions which had challenged the Karnataka high court order upholding the validity of the state’s decision. As many as 21 advocates had argued for the Muslim side and only six in support of enforcing uniforms without religious attires.
The hearings had lasted 10 days and spanned two weeks. The Muslim side engaged 21 lawyers, including senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Rajeev Dhavan, Devadatt Kamat, Salman Khurshid, Huzefa Ahmadi, Meenakshi Arora and Sanjay Hegde. In contrast, the Karnataka government had engaged only three law officers — solicitor general Tushar Mehta, state advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi and additional solicitor general K M Nataraj — to argue that the direction to enforce uniforms in schools did not breach any fundamental right.
The court will resume business on Monday after a week-long Dussehra break. Justice Gupta will retire on October 16, which gives the bench a window of five working days (Monday to Friday), and in exceptional circumstances even Saturday, to pronounce the verdict.
Monday as usual would see a flurry of PILs getting listed before many benches of the SC. Of the 53 PILs listed for adjudication, as many as 24, or 45% of them, are listed for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit.
Among the PIL petitioners are Subramanian Swamy, Tushar Gandhi, Ittehad Front Assam. Many petitions by serial PIL litigants M L Sharma and Ashwini Upadhyay are also listed.

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