This Article is From Mar 15, 2022

Hijab Row: Decision Today, Schools Shut, Gatherings Banned In Bengaluru

The students have argued that hijab is protected under the religious freedoms granted by the Constitution

Students were not allowed to enter schools in hijab after a High Court interim order.


The Karnataka High Court will declare its verdict today on the hijab ban issue, which set off a huge controversy in the state earlier this year. Ahead of the verdict, the state government has banned large gatherings for a week in state capital Bengaluru "to maintain public peace and order". Mangalore too has banned large gatherings from March 15 to 19. The Udupi district administration has declared a holiday in schools and colleges today.

A group of students from Udupi had gone to court and challenged the ban on headscarves in the state's educational institutions. The students had contended that there is no law that prohibits the use of headscarves in educational institutions.  

Hijab, they argued, is protected under the religious freedoms granted by the Constitution and no college development body is equipped to take a call on whether it can be banned in view of public order violation.  

The Karnataka government has told the court that there is no restriction on wearing hijab in India except reasonable restrictions subject to institutional discipline.

The row had started in January as students at a school in Udupi refused to remove headscarves and stop their use despite requests from teachers. Five students then went to court.   

As the protests spread, a section of students turned up in saffron scarves, arguing they were also linked to religious identity. Dalit students adopted blue to show support for hijab.

The judge hearing the case in High Court, meanwhile, referred it to a larger bench and in a contentious interim order, ruled that schools and colleges could reopen but no religious clothing, including hijabs, will be allowed.

The order became controversial as students in various schools were forced to remove headscarves before entering campuses.  In protest, some students went home. While the case was being heard at the court, which had reserved judgment, many students in hijabs were not allowed to take the final practical exams.

Social media was flooded with multiple such instances and the row over headscarves was seen as a roadblock to education of Muslim girls.