India's Supreme Court Delivers Split Judgment on Hijab Ban

India's Supreme Court || Photo: Collected

India's Supreme Court || Photo: Collected

India's Supreme Court Thursday delivered a split judgment on a bunch of petitions challenging the ban on hijabs in classrooms in the state of Karnataka.

Hijabs are headscarves worn by Muslim women. Muslims are a minority community in India.

The government in the southern Indian state banned hijabs in schools and colleges in February this year, an order that was upheld by the state's High Court.

A top court bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia this morning gave the split judgment, paving the way for the petitions to be heard by a larger bench.

While Justice Gupta dismissed the pleas against the hijab ban, Justice Dhulia allowed them.

"It's ultimately a matter of choice and nothing else. Uppermost in my mind was education of the girl child. I respectfully disagree with my brother judge," Justice Dhulia said.

The top court, on September 22, reserved its order on the pleas against the Karnataka High Court judgement refusing to lift the ban on hijabs.

The row, in fact, began in Karnataka's Udupi district in the wake of a government college barrring six teenage students from wearing hijabs in classrooms.

The move sparked massive protests in the state, prompting the state government to enforce a blanket ban on wearing "religious outfits" in educational institutions.

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