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Indian Court upholds ban on hijab in class

March 15, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Demonstration in New Delhi after educational institutes in India denied entry to students for wearing hijabs on 8 February 2022 [Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Anadolu Agency]

An Indian Court, on Tuesday, upheld a ban on hijab in class in the southern State of Karnataka, stating that wearing the headscarf was not an essential religious practice in Islam, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The ruling came following petitions filed in the Karnataka High Court by women who were not allowed to attend classes because of hijab restrictions in the State.

The issue flared up when Muslim students were barred in January, from entering their classrooms at a government college in Udupi district in Karnataka because they were wearing the hijab. The ban spread to other colleges in the State, triggering protests by Muslims and rights activists who stated the Constitution guaranteed the freedom to choose what one wears.

In its 129-page judgment by a three-judge bench, the Court said: “The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to.”

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Ahead of the verdict, public gatherings in some parts of the State were banned to maintain public order and peace.

According to the Indian Constitution, every citizen has the right to practice, profess and propagate religion. This right can be curtailed only on grounds of public order, morality and health.

Indian Muslims have witnessed a deterioration of the right to practice their faith under the rule of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).