The Karnataka High Court today began hearing in Resham Farooq’s plea seeking relief from the Government PU college’s claimed refusal of admission to eight female students for wearing the hijab. The petitioner is represented by senior Advocate Devdatt Kamat. Advocate General of the State Prabhuling K Navadgi appeared from the side of the State.
The case was heard before Justice Krishna S Dixit’s bench. Before the hearing began, he emphasized that the court will follow the constitution, which he said is superior to the Bhagavad Gita.
Keep all emotions aside. We will go by what constitution says. Constitution is above Bhagwad Geeta for me. I will go by the oath I have taken to the Constitution: Justice Krishna S Dixit.— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 8, 2022
The advocate general began by emphasizing that the state had not intervened in the situation and that the college’s development committee was allowed to make its own decisions. Adv. Kamat protested, claiming that there was a recent government directive on the subject.
Only the petitioner’s side made the submission today. According to Adv. Kamat, wearing a hijab is a fundamental Islamic practice mandated by the Quran. Kamat then proceeded to read a few verses from the Quran. Meanwhile, the court asked for a genuine and reliable copy of the Quran to be made accessible to the court.
Kamat now reading out Quranic verse 24.31 on dress code which mandates that neckline should not be revealed to anyone other than husband.— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 8, 2022
Furthermore, Kamat asserted that wearing a hijab is a basic right guaranteed by the constitution and that the state has no authority to determine vital religious practices. He also cited several judgments to support the idea that religious behaviour cannot be assessed on secular ideas outside of religious authority.
“It is not correct for a woman after she starts menstruating to show her hands and face to strangers” Kamat quoted referring to Hadith mentioned in a Kerala HC judgment.
Since Kamat stressed a lot about laws from Kerala, the court pointed out this obsession. After which he went on to state that Hijab cannot be banned stating public order. “If it is a public order issue, how is it that when Muslim women wear #hijab outside, it is not a public order issue and it becomes a public order issue when they enter college? When they go to market, not issue but in college, there is a public order issue!” said Adv. Kamat to which the court responded by saying “Is there a uniform test for public order? That if it is not public order issue outside, it cannot be a public order issue inside.”
“If I carry a baby of a swine and go to Connaught Place, nobody will create an issue except saying this man has gone crazy. But if I go like that to a mosque or a temple or a church, it might create an issue.” the court added.
Justice Dixit : If I carry a baby of a swine and go to Connaught Place, nobody will create an issue except saying this man has gone crazy. But if I go like that to a mosque or a temple or a church, it might create an issue.#KarnatakaHijabRow #HijabRow— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 8, 2022
Kamat submitted that the girls wearing Hijab made to sit in separate classes is a kind of “religious apartheid.” This got a strict objection from the AG that such assertions can instigate sentiments and the case should be kept away from making it a religious one.
Following some more arguments, the case proceeded to end for the day. In the last, the AG requested injunctions in order to maintain law-and-order in the state.
Court dictating order: Having heard counsel for the parties and pending further hearing of matter, this court requests the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquility.— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 8, 2022
The court was adjourned with an interim order requesting students and the public to maintain peace and tranquillity. The hearing will commence again tomorrow at 02:30 PM.