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SC to take up Muslim girls’ plea to allow hijab at exams

The students sought permission to appear in annual examinations of the colleges in Karnataka wearing headscarves.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Wednesday was urged by a group of students to give an urgent hearing to an application to permit girl students to appear in annual examinations of the colleges in Karnataka wearing Hijab – headscarf.

Representing a batch of students from Karnataka, advocate Shadan Farasat in a mentioning urged a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha to hold an urgent listing of the application seeking top court’s nod for the Muslim girl students to wear Hijab during annual examination of the colleges in Karnataka.

The annual examinations are scheduled to begin from March 9, 2023.

As Chief Justice Chandrachud asked Farasat, “Why are they prevented from taking the examination?” the advocate said because of the headscarf, further pointing out that the students had already lost one year and if no relief was granted, they would lose another year.

The top court was informed that all these students had already shifted to private colleges but they would have to go to government colleges to appear in examinations and wearing of Hijab in government run educational institutions is prohibited.

This bench said that the plea for listing would be examined.

Farasat referred to the October 13, 2022, split verdict by a top court bench on a batch of petitions that had challenged the Karnataka High Court judgment upholding State government’s ban on Muslim girls wearing Hijab in the government schools and educational institutions.

While Justice Hemant Gupta (since retired) had dismissed the appeals against the High Court judgment, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the appeals. After delivering a split verdict, the bench referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India to constitute an appropriate bench to adjudicate the issue.

On January 23, the Supreme Court had agreed to constitute a three-judge bench to consider petitions challenging ban on hijab in classrooms/premises of government educational institutions