Supreme Court Delivers Split Verdict In Hijab Case; What’s Next?
New Delhi: The two-judge bench of the Supreme Court here on Thursday delivered a split verdict in the Hijab ban case.
Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the 26 appeals filed against the judgment of the Karnataka High Court, which allowed the ban on wearing headscarves in educational institutions in the state stating that hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice in the Islamic faith, and stressed the need to discuss the ambit and scope of the right to freedom of religion.
Justice Gupta said, “I have framed 11 questions for consideration.”
Maintaining that wearing a hijab was a matter of choice, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that the entire concept of essential religious practice was not essential to the dispute. “The High Court took a wrong path. It is ultimately a matter of choice and Articles 14 and 19. It is a matter of choice, nothing more and nothing less,” he said. Justice Dhulia said, adding that the education of the girl child was the foremost question on his mind
“Are we making her life any better? That was a question in my mind…I have quashed the Government Order of February 5 and have ordered the removal of the restrictions…I have held that the judgment in Bijoe Emmanuel squarely covers the issue.”
In view of the “divergence in opinion, the matter now has to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for appropriate directions. A detailed copy of the judgment is awaited.
The bench had reserved its verdict on the pleas on September 22 after hearing arguments in the matter for 10 days.