‘Don’t spread these things to a larger level’, SC on pleas challenging HC order on Hijab
New Delhi: Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Friday orally told the counsel of a petitioner, challenging the Karnataka High Court interim order in the Hijab matter, to think whether it is proper to bring the issue at the national level.
Senior advocate Devadutt Kamat mentioned the plea challenging the Karnataka High Court before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana. Kamat submitted that the high court has restrained the students from disclosing their religious identities, which results in suspension of Article 25 and this will lead into larger consequences.
The Chief Justice said: “Court is already hearing the matter”. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the high court order has not come out so far and it should be allowed to decide the issue. Mehta emphasized that the matter should not be made either religious or political.
Chief Justice orally observed, “Don’t spread these things to a larger level…we don’t want to express anything on it.”
Justice Ramana told Kamat, “We are watching it and we know what is happening. Think, is it proper to bring it to the national level..”
Kamat mentioned the plea by a petitioner challenging the Karnataka High Court’s interim order to students not to insist on wearing religious attire till the court has decided the matter.
The Chief Justice emphasized that if there is constitutional rights’ violation of any one it would intervene at the appropriate time and its responsibility to protect constitutional rights of everyone.
The top court declined to go into the merits of the matter. “We will take it up at an appropriate time,” said the bench.
Another plea has been filed through advocates Rahamatullah Kothwal and Adeel Ahmed said: “The right to wear hijab falls under right to expression under Article 19(1)(a), right to privacy and freedom of conscience under Article 25. The same cannot be infringed upon without a valid law.” The college administration has resisted a group of students’ insistence to wear Hijab. The matter has triggered reaction, where others have worn saffron shawls.
Adeel submitted before the bench that students’ practical exams are scheduled on February 15.
The plea filed by Mohamed Arif Jameel and D.J. Halli Federation of Masajids Madaaris and Wakf Institutions contended that the high court through its order has sought to curtail the fundamental right of Muslim student-women by not allowing them to wear the hijab and pursue their education. “It is, therefore, necessary that an appropriate order be made staying the operation of the impugned order till the disposal of this petition otherwise the purpose of filing of special leave petition may be defeated and the same may be rendered in-fructuous”, said the plea.
The plea said the students concerned have to appear in practical examinations scheduled on February 15 and any interference on their access to institutions would impede on their right to education.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S.Dixit and Justice J.M. Khazi had passed the oral observations and scheduled the hearing on petitions challenging Hijab ban on Monday. The high court said: “We will pass an order. Let the schools-colleges start. But till the matter is resolved, no student should insist on wearing religious dress”.