The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the Karnataka government's February 5 order, prohibiting wearing of hijab inside classrooms in pre-university colleges.
The judgment was delivered by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
Justice Gupta dismissed the appeals challenging the Karnataka High Court judgment, whereas Justice Dhulia set aside the high court judgment.
The petitioners had moved the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.
Justice Dhulia said he has a different view and he is allowing the appeal against the high court judgment. "It (wearing hijab) is ultimately a matter of choice, nothing more, nothing else," he said.
Justice Dhulia said venturing into essential religious practice was not needed and the high court took the wrong way. He added that one thing which was topmost for him was education of girl children. Justice Dhulia added that a girl child in areas does household work and chores before going to school and are we making her life any better by imposing an additional restriction on her?
Justice Dhulia said he has set aside the Karnataka High Court order and quashed the Karnataka government order of February 5, 2022, and given directions for the removal of the restrictions.
Justice Hemant Gupta said in view of divergent opinion, let the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for appropriate directions. Detailed judgment in the matter will be uploaded later in the day.
The judgment would mean the restrictions on hijab in classrooms as per the state government's February 5 order would continue for now.
After 10 days of marathon hearing, on September 22 the top court had reserved the judgment for Thursday. The bench heard the arguments from the counsels representing the state government, teachers, and the petitioners, who moved the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state.