Senior lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi The Supreme Court told the Karnataka government on Thursday that the decision of the Karnataka government to allow the ban on hijab in educational institutions has resulted in denial of education for Muslim girls.
He argued that the priority of the state should be to ensure that girls receive an education. “We have a slogan ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’. Shouldn’t it be the state’s priority to ensure education for the girls rather than a misplaced priority on discipline that undermines autonomy and ultimately results in denial of education? ” for a bank consisting of: Judges Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
Today marked the 10th day of the hearing before the appellate court against the decision of the Karnataka Supreme Court, which upheld the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions.
Ahmadi, who replied to the applicant’s arguments in response to the state’s arguments, asked how the Hijab violates discipline or harms education. If someone wants to stop teaching in the name of observing religious practices, that would be a good reason to forbid that observance. However, as far as the hijab is concerned, no such case has been demonstrated by the respondents.
“Uniformity is confused as a fundamental duty. This court’s rulings emphasize diversity. Hijab is not shown to harm education or discipline. It is strange that the state that should be concerned about educating girls , is more concerned about this enforcement, which could lead to girls being denied education”he said.
He cited some RTI documents suggesting that the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had written to the state in March stating that the ban on the hijab will Result in “dropouts” in educational intuitions. He pointed out that senior lawyer Kapil Sibal had also cited certain documents showing Muslim students dropping out after the hijab verdict.
“In the end, what does the State have if these students are not emancipated? If these girls get a good education, they can decide tomorrow how they are going to dress. Education itself is empowerment. Stopping this could lead them to go back to other education that is not secular. Don’t stop this at the threshold.”
Ahmadi also referred to several letters from students saying they are not allowed to sit or write exams.
However, as Solicitor General Navadgi objected, the Court said, “We will not use new documents in rejoinder in accordance with established practice.”
The court upheld the ruling in the case after hearing the petitioners’ rejoinder arguments. Detailed report can be read here.