According to reports, seven school teachers in Karnataka have been suspended for permitting children wearing hijabs to take class X board (SSLC) examinations. Despite a government ruling mandating the wearing of uniforms after the high court prohibited religious clothing throughout educational institutions earlier this month, teachers allowed students to enter exam centres on Wednesday.
According to reports, the school administrators have suspended five teachers from CS Patil Higher Primary School and two from other schools in Karnataka. As of now, no action has been taken against students who took examinations while wearing hijabs.
SU Hokkala, SM Pathar, KB Bajanthri, BS Honnagudi, and SS Gujamagadi are the five teachers suspended from CS Patil Higher Primary School. Teachers SG Godage of Sharana Basaveshwara High School in Batagere and VN Kivudara of Bapuji Primary School in Gadag were also reprimanded for allowing hijab-clad students to take examinations.
Addressing media reporters, minister for primary and secondary education BC Nagesh said: “Government has instructed according to the Act, rule and judgement of the High Court. Every government employee has to follow the rule. If it isn’t followed, definitely some action has to be taken and a notice has to be given. We should get information from them and the final action should be decided after that. But clearly they have not followed instructions of the government so the action has been taken.”
Through a circular issued on March 25, the state government made uniforms mandatory for students taking the Class X board (SSLC) examinations. The Karnataka Education Department specified in the circular that students from government schools must attend the exams wearing the appropriate uniform as prescribed by the state government. It further added that students in private schools should appear in examinations wearing uniforms approved by the respective school administrators.
Verdict of Karnataka High Court on hijab
In its ruling on the case filed by certain Muslim students to allow the wearing of hijab in educational institutions, the Karnataka High Court said that the hijab is not an important practice of the Islamic religion and so it cannot be allowed in educational institutions.
The decision came in response to a petition filed in the Karnataka High Court contending that Muslim females wearing Hijab/Burqa should be allowed to attend school. The case was brought by a Muslim student who asked the High Court to order that she be allowed to wear a hijab in college, claiming that it is her “Fundamental Right” under Articles 14 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and an “integral practise of Islam.”
The controversy began earlier in January when several Muslim students were denied entry to classes because they wore hijabs. As the controversy went on, numerous more institutions joined in to prohibit burqa-clad students from attending classes, alleging a breach of their institute’s uniform guidelines.