Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Wearing hijab is not essential part of religion: Karnataka HC


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Articles 25, 26

Mains level: Hijab Row

The Karnataka High Court has upheld the ban on the wearing of hijab (head scarf) by students in schools and colleges in the State.

[Burning Issue] Freedom of religion and attire

The Judgment

  • The judgment was delivered by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S. Dixit and Justice J.M. Khazi.
  • It rejected all the petitions filed by girl students of pre-university colleges in Udupi district.

Key takeaways

  • The HC held that wearing hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and is not, therefore, protected under by the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • The court said it was a reasonable restriction that was constitutionally permissible.
  • The Bench also upheld the legality of the order prescribing guidelines for uniforms in schools and pre-university colleges under the provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983.
  • The court said that school uniform will cease to be a uniform if hijab is also allowed.

What else did the court observe?

  • The Bench also spoke about the possibility of some “unseen hands” behind the hijab row to engineer social unrest and disharmony.
  • It expressed dismay over the issue being blown out of proportion by the powers that be.

Reactions on the Judgment

  • Some factions have said that the order is a blow to right to education for Muslim women.
  • Other see it as an empowerment of women.
  • Feminists says that it’s not about an item of clothing, it’s about the right of a woman to choose how she wants to dress.
  • The Leftists perceived it as a blow against the universal right to education without discrimination, guaranteed by the law and the Constitution of India.


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