Hijab row: Supreme Court verdict expected by 14 October, last working day of Justice Hemant Gupta

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New Delhi: After 10 days of marathon hearing, the Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court judgement refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.

A bench of the top court comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia heard Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Karnataka Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi and Addl Solicitor General KM Nataraj for the state, while Senior Advocates R Venkataramani, Dama Seshadri Naidu and V Mohana appeared for college teachers, according to reports.

The petitioners’ side had concluded its arguments on Tuesday. The verdict is expected by 14 October (Friday), which is the last working day of Justice Hemant Gupta. He retires on 16 October

High Court order on hijab

On 15 March, the high court had dismissed petitions filed by a section of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi seeking permission to wear hijab inside the classroom, saying it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

The state government had, by its order of 5 February, 2022, banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

Several pleas have been filed in the top court against the 15 March verdict of the high court holding that wearing hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.

Challenging the 5 February order of the government, the petitioners had argued before the high court that wearing the Islamic headscarf was an innocent practice of faith and an essential religious practice and not a display of religious jingoism.

(With inputs from agencies)

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