Karnataka hijab row : Justice Gupta upholds ban, Justice Dhulia says 'matter of choice'

Image Source: IG News

By:Laxmi Sinha


The word ‘Hijab’ means a veil which covers their head and chest worn by a Muslim woman outside their house in the presence of men apart from her immediate family members. Hijab is considered as an essential religious practice which cannot be ignored by the Muslim woman. The ‘Hijab Issue’ became one of the controversial issues which questioned the ban on wearing Hijab inside the campus which follows certain dress code. The Muslim students pointed it as a violation of freedom of religion. Headscarf, burka, Nikab are forms of Hijab for a Muslim woman. It is believed that a Muslim woman should protect their beauty and their private parts. It is their way to show respect to their religion, everyone has their own way of showing respect to their religion.

Karnataka High Court Judgement on Hijab Issue:

The case between Aishat Shifa v. State of Karnataka which popularly known as ‘Hijab Issue’ was lashed out based on dress court discipline which every student needs to follow and the court of Karnataka banned the Muslim from wearing Hijab in the educational institutions of the state. This was explained by the court that wearing hijab is not an “essential religious practice” of Islam while it is a cultural practice which does not merit under essential religious practice of Islam. It is believed that Hijab is a protection and security for the women and cultural practice as well as which cannot be termed as essential religious practice. To consider it as an essential religious practice it should not crash with the constitutional value like equality and dignity because equality must be supported everywhere especially in educational institutions. Educational institutions are the place there must be an impartial religion where everyone is equal and no is above someone or beneath them.

The essential religion practice cannot be essential if it is not mentioned in the Islamic practice. The court focused on the collective rights over the individual practice. Court clearly wants to focus on the discipline to be supported due to which it has mentioned ‘discipline’ in the judgement. Discipline is a behaviour create habit or routine in the children in the school or university. It encourages self - control and to obey the rules.

The Supreme Court split Judgement on Hijab case:

The bench gave a split verdict on the hijab case were that the Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the petitions against the hijab ban and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed the ban. Both the judge went with different answer on the case. On focused on the constitutional value of equality and dignity and they clearly said that one will come to educational institutions to study and most important thing is to get educated. Other one focused on the essential religious practice and it is mandatory for their religion to be followed. The court also took support of the Tandava case in which it was held that person was restrict from doing Tandava on the public street because it is not essential religious practice. There are many cases in which the petitioner was restricted from doing a particular thing in the name of a religious practice and go against the constitutional values of equality and dignity. The government has to look after everyone in the collective way and taking decision might get difficult for them. Dhulia J. also said that a girl missed an exam after the Karnataka ban case . The court also have to look after the fact that a girl child and her conservative family struggles a lot to send their girl child to get educated and hijab becomes one of the conditions. In the present scenario, there are many girl child who are not allowed to go out or even to any educational institutions without their hijab and if the it gets banned then they would face many problems. This is not an individual problem but a collective problem of all Muslim Girls.


The rules and discipline should be line that people don’t get frustrated in the rules and must value everyone’s beliefs and religious practice.