The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court judgement refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions before Justice Hemant Gupta retires this week.
A bench of Justices Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia had reserved its judgement on the pleas on September 22 after hearing arguments in the matter for 10 days.
The pronouncement of judgement on these pleas is expected this week as Justice Gupta, who is heading the bench, is due to retire on October 16.
During the arguments in the apex court, a number of counsel appearing for the petitioners had insisted that preventing the Muslim girls from wearing the hijab to the classroom will put their education in jeopardy as they might stop attending classes.
Counsel for the petitioners had argued on various aspects, including on the state government’s February 5, 2022 order which banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.
Some advocates had also argued that the matter be referred to a five-judge constitution bench.
On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the state had argued that the Karnataka government order that kicked up a row over hijab was “religion neutral”.
Insisting that the agitation in support of wearing hijab in educational institutions was not a “spontaneous act” by a few individuals, the state’s counsel had argued in the apex court that the government would have been “guilty of dereliction of constitutional duty” if it had not acted the way it did.
On March 15, the high court had dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students of the Government Pre-University Girls College in Karnataka’s Udupi seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.
The state government’s order of February 5, 2022 was challenged by some Muslim girls in the high court.
Several pleas have been filed in the apex court challenging the high court verdict.