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Burqa row hearing: Petitioners wanted restriction on media and social media discussion, said ‘it may affect elections’

CJ Awasthi responded to this stating, "If the Election Commission or any other body which holds the elections asks us to do so, then we will consider,"

The Karnataka High Court was hearing the case on the burqa row today. One of the petitioners had expressed that the case hearing might adversely affect the ongoing elections in several states and had requested the court to restrict media and social media comments on the issue due to the ongoing elections.

However, the HC stated that they would consider if the Election Commission of India makes such a request. Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi stated that the court can only make appeals to the media but cannot restrict the media. However, they can suspend the live streaming of the hearing.

The three-member bench comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna Dixit & Justice JM Khazi was hearing the arguments put forward by Senior Advocate Devdatt Kamat on behalf of the petitioners (Girl students). Kamat was seen arguing over the absoluteness and relativity of Article 25 which talks about freedom to practice, propagate religion. He went ahead to quote verses from the Quran justifying the use of headscarves in Islam.

While arguing for the right of girl students to wear Hijab (as supposedly mandated by Islam), Kamat said, “I am asking for a positive mandate for allowing me to wear a headscarf of the same colour of the uniform.” With 15-20 minutes left for Devdatt Kamat to finish, Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi asked before the court about who else wanted to argue on behalf of the petitioners.

Pointing out the religious nature of ongoing proceedings of the High Court, an advocate asked before the bench to hear the matter after the ongoing elections today and also restrict the media covering the proceedings. CJ Awasthi responded to this stating, “If the Election Commission or any other body which holds the elections asks us to do so, then we will consider,”

Responding to the request Justice Krishna Dixit argued that such cases are handled by the election commission under article 324. Pointing out that the concerned individuals hearing the case are not voters in the elections, he affirmed that no elections are being affected by the court proceedings. Over growing concerns about the naivety of social media users hearing the case, the Chief Justice announced, “If you people agree, we can put off this live streaming. However, we cannot put any restrictions as far as the media is concerned,”

Before adjourning the court, the Chief Justice listed out the names of advocates who will be appearing for the petitioner (girls) in the continued proceedings tomorrow. The Karnataka High Court functions on an online mode owing to the Covid-19 restrictions. The live streaming of the hearings was being watched by around 20,000 viewers on Youtube. The hearing is adjourned till 2:30 PM tomorrow.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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