A fresh petition has been filed in the Karnataka High Court seeking that hijab be allowed in educational institutions during on Fridays and the holy month of Ramzan. The bench, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the ban on hijab, has agreed to consider it.
An interim order from the High Court has barred religious attire in schools and colleges, till a call is taken on whether headscarves can be allowed. With institutions across the state insisting on enforcing it, many Muslim girls and young women have been forced to stay home, raising concerns about their education.
In the ongoing debate over the issue, may have pointed out that along with freedom of religion, the right to education is also a fundamental right.
Appearing on behalf of Muslim girls in the state, petitioner Dr Vinod Kulkarni said, "As part of Interim relief I am claiming that pass an order to let Muslim girls sport Hijab at least on Friday, on Juma day, most auspicious day for Muslims and the holy month of Ramzan, which is coming soon".
When Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi pointed out that his request is contradictory to his undertaking that Muslim girls will wear whatever uniform is prescribed, Dr Kulkarni said, "Hijab is part of the uniform".
When Dr Kulkarni contended that banning hijab "amounts to banning Quran", the judge exclaimed that it was a "bit far-fetched".
There is an ongoing debate on whether hijab has been recommended by the Quran. Asked by the Chief Justice whether he can show where in Quran this is stated, Dr Kulkarni responded, "I am a devout Brahmin myself... my submission is it may amount to the banning of Quran. My submission is that please pass an order today to allow wearing of hijab on Friday and ensuing Ramzan".
"You want them to be allowed hijab on Fridays? We will consider what you argue," the Chief Justice replied.
The hearing will continue tomorrow.