‘One can ban miniskirt, not hijab on grounds of morality’ | India News

NEW DELHI: In the ongoing hearing of a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka high court’s judgment that upheld the ban on wearing hijab by students in educational institutions, the Muslim side on Thursday told the Supreme Court that a girl student can be barred from wearing a miniskirt to an educational institution but not a hijab by applying the restrictions of public order, decency and morality to the freedom of expression under Article 19(2).
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal posed a series of questions: “Does the Muslim women’s right of expression not include a choice of dress (hijab) to display her identity, culture and the religious group to which she belongs? If Muslim women have been traditionally wearing hijab to educational institutions, from where did the Karnataka government derive its power now to ban it when there is no such restriction under Article 19(2)? When the Muslim women are not opposed to uniform, but want to wear an additional headscarf of a colour matching with the uniforms, how can it be banned?”
When a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia said the state government’s action was probably to address the situation arising from certain students wearing saffron shawls, Sibal said Article 51A(f) of the Constitution casts a duty on every citizen to “value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.
“How did the Karnataka HC import a non-existent concept of ‘qualified public space’ to uphold the ban on hijab? The situation was deliberately created to enable the state to ban hijab in educational institutions,” Sibal said. He said because of the hijab ban there has been an alarming rate of dropout.
The arguments would continue on Monday.

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