India's Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear next week pleas challenging the Karnataka state high court ruling - refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the southern state.A bench, consisting of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, took note of the submissions of lawyer Prashant Bhushan that the matters were filed long back but were yet to be listed for hearing, India TV reports.The girls, who filed the pleas, are losing out on studies and have been facing difficulties, Bhushan said.
The bench said two benches are not functioning. So, we have to re-distribute. It will be listed sometime next week before an appropriate bench.Prior to this, the appeals against the March 15 verdict of the high court, which had dismissed petitions seeking permission to wear hijab inside the classroom, were mentioned for urgent hearing on April 26 as well.Several petitions have been filed in the apex court against the Karnataka High Court verdict holding that wearing of hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The high court had dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi, Karnataka, seeking permission to wear hijab inside the classroom.The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction, constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to, the high court had said.In one of the pleas filed in the top court, the petitioner said the high court has erred in creating a dichotomy of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience wherein the court has inferred that those who follow a religion cannot have the right to conscience.The high court has failed to note that the right to wear hijab comes under the ambit of the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is submitted that the freedom of conscience forms a part of the right to privacy, it said.