The Karnataka government told the High Court on Tuesday that there are no restrictions on wearing hijab in India with reasonable restrictions subject to institutional discipline.
Against Udupi District Muslim Girls Petitioner who challenged the restriction of hijab inside educational institutions, Karnataka Attorney General Prabhuling Navadgi said that the right to wear headscarves is a matter of category 19(1)(A) and not section 25 as was the case. was supported by the petitioners.
“The right to wear the hijab falls under Article 19(1)(A) and not Article 25. If one wishes to wear the hijab, then there is no restriction ‘subject to the discipline.’ The rights asserted under Article 19(1)(A) are linked to Article 19(2) where the government imposes a reasonable restriction subject to an institutional restriction,” Navadgi told the set of judges of the High Court of Karnataka.
The full bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice JM Khazi and Justice Krishna M Dixit is hearing a batch of petitions asking for permission to wear hijab inside the classroom.
Navadgi further stated that the institutional restriction in the present case is only inside educational institutions and nowhere else.
Arguing further, he stated that the independent claim of 19(1)(A) cannot go hand in hand with Article 25.
“The consequence of asking to declare Hijab as an essential religious practice is huge because there is an element of coercion, otherwise you will be expelled from the community,” Navadgi told the court.
Article 19(1)(A) is related to the freedom of expression of the Indian constitution.
Section 19(2) provides that nothing in subparagraph (a) of subsection (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, insofar as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in matters of contempt of court, defamation or incitement to offence.
Article 25 deals with freedom of conscience and freedom of profession, practice and propagation of religion and says that subject to public order, morality and health and the other provisions of this party, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion.
On January 1, six female college students from Udupi attended a press conference organized by Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal city to protest against college authorities denying them entry to the halls. class wearing hijab.
This was four days after asking the principal for permission to wear the hijab in class, which was not allowed. Until then, students wore the headscarf on campus, but entered the classroom after taking it off, university principal Rudre Gowda said.
“The institution had no rules on wearing the hijab as such and since no one had used to wear it in class for the past 35 years. The students who came with the request had the support outside forces,” Gowda said.
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