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Hijab Ban| Insistence On Wearing Purdah, Veil Or Headgear In Any Community May Hinder Emancipation Of Women : Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
15 March 2022 11:52 AM GMT
Hijab Ban| Insistence On Wearing Purdah, Veil Or Headgear In Any Community May Hinder Emancipation Of Women : Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court, while upholding the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions, has said that the insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder hinder the process of emancipation of woman in general and Muslim woman in particular. A full bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi said, "There is...

The Karnataka High Court, while upholding the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions, has said that the insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder hinder the process of emancipation of woman in general and Muslim woman in particular.

A full bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi said, "There is a lot of scope for the argument that insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder the process of emancipation of woman in general and Muslim woman in particular. That militates against our constitutional spirit of 'equal opportunity' of 'public participation' and 'positive secularism'."

Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi had argued that, "Even if all the arguments made by the petitioners are accepted, the Court will have to see whether the mandate to wear hijab would stand the test of constitutional morality and individual dignity, laid down by the Supreme Court in Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala (Sabarimala judgement)."

Placing reliance on it he had said, "If somebody is to come before lordships seeking a declaration, that we want every woman of that faith to wear, would it not violate the right of the person, to whom we are sitting down and subjugating. According to me it is impermissible in this day and age...Dignity involves liberty; liberty involves choice. The entire submission of petitioners is based on compulsion.The entire claim of petition is to make compulsion, it goes against fundamental ethos of the Constitution."

Navadgi had also said, "This according to me is the concept of liberty of that particular person. Choice to wear, every woman of every faith has that choice...There cannot be a religious sanction by way of judicial declaration. This is not for college or school but the entire community...women cannot be subjected to a compulsion of a dress in the context of their (petitioners') submissions."

The bench in its order said, "Throughout, there has been both legislative & judicial process to emancipate women from pernicious discrimination in all its forms and means. Women regardless of religion being equal, if not superior to men, are also joining defence services on a permanent commission basis."

Further, "Be it business, industry, profession, public & private employments, sports, arts and such other walks of life, women are breaking the glass ceiling and faring better than their counterparts."

Referring to the book 'PAKISTAN OR THE PARTITION OF INDIA' (1945) by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, where critical observations about the purdah practice were made, the bench said "What the Chief Architect of our Constitution observed more than half a century ago about the purdah practice equally applies to wearing of hijab."

Further it said, "Prescription of school dress code to the exclusion of hijab, bhagwa, or any other apparel symbolic of religion can be a step forward in the direction of emancipation and more particularly, to the access to education."

It opined, "It hardly needs to be stated that this does not rob off the autonomy of women or their right to education inasmuch as they can wear any apparel of their choice outside the classroom."

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 75

Click here to read/download the judgment

Holy Quran Does Not Mandate Wearing Of Hijab; Islam Does Not Cease To Exist If Hijab Is Not Followed : Karnataka High Court


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