On 13 October, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Hemanth Gupta & Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia delivered a split verdict in the hijab ban case. While Justice Hemant Gupta upheld the Karnataka High Court’s order, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia set it aside and quashed the Karnataka government order banning the hijab in educational institutions.
Udupi Hijabi student Aliya Assadi, who was among the first six Hijabi students to be expelled from classes for wearing Hijab and who was among the first to challenge it in High Court, spoke to Siasat.com said that she was expecting justice today from the Supreme court bench but it was the split verdict.
Welcoming Justice Dhulia’s statement of pronouncing the verdict and upholding constitutional values Aliya said “Happy that Justice Dhulia’s statement has represented our struggle, allowing us to get our education with our constitutional values.”
What if the Supreme Court upheld Karnataka HC’s decision?
When questioned if the Supreme Court upheld Karnataka High Court’s decision of banning Hijab in educational institutions, Aliya said “I don’t know, But one thing is for sure that if Supreme Court gives the same verdict as of High Court, it will snatch many girls education away from them. We all will lose our hopes in the judiciary and feel we are strangers in our own country. We are waiting for Justice, not verdict,” she further remarked.
Another Hijabi student Almas said “I feel every hijabi student is going through different pressures and mental torture due to the current situation. I request Supreme Court to give justice as soon as possible because already it has affected students and even lost their 1 year of academic education. Hope our country gives our rights back.”
The split verdict in the Hijab case shows “divergence of opinion”
Justice Hemant Gupta’s verdict upholds the hijab ban verdict of the Karnataka High Court. “In my order there are 11 questions framed. I have answered all the questions against the appeals. I am proposing to dismiss the appeals,” Justice Gupta said.
Justice Sudhanshshu Dhuli allowed all the appeals and set aside the judgment of the Karnataka High Court. “The main thrust of my judgment is the entire concept of essential religious practice was not essential to the dispute. The High Court took the wrong path. It is ultimately a matter of choice and Article 14 and 19,” Justice Dhulia said.
“It is a matter of choice, nothing more and nothing less. I have quashed the Government Order of February 5 and have ordered the removal of the restrictions.” Justice Dhulia added.
It all started in the last week of December 2021 when students wearing hijabs were not allowed inside the class at a government pre-university college in Udupi.
Speaking with siasat.com Professor Syeda Sadia, tutoring UPSC aspirants said: “Split judgment is not justice, courts are guardians of our fundamental rights so they should be clear on one judgment and judgment should give protection to our rights.”
“It’s a very pathetic situation for our students as they have been waiting for a long year for justice and yet it has not been delivered. This split judgment will waste the further time of students and we are not happy with it. It’s utter harassment of girl students putting them in dilemma and mental, emotional & psychological pain and agony,” she further said.
Najma Nazeer, JDS Spokesperson speaking to Siasat.com said that the Hijab verdict will be used as a political tool to win upcoming elections. “I hope Supreme Court will consider all international pro-Hijab judgments of ‘My right to choose & wear’ and delivers justice. It’s a political gimmick of RSS-BJP to portray themselves as Hindutva saviours using Hijab as a tool to gain votes in upcoming Loksabha & Assembly elections.”
Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh addressing the press conference on Hijab verdict said “As a democratic govt, we welcome the Supreme Court verdict. We had expected a better judgement as women worldwide are demanding to not wear hijab/burqa. Karnataka HC order on Hijab ban in educational institutions of the state to remain as such.”
All India Muslim Personal Law Board in its press release stated that “Justice Dhulia’s approach in the Hijab Case is in line with the Indian Constitution and the ideals of individual freedom. We appeal to the Government of Karnataka to withdraw its Government Order.”