Hijab ban case: ‘Just like turbans for Sikhs, hijabs important for Muslim women,’ petitioners’ lawyer tells SC

India News

A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia continued hearing a batch of petitions challenging the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka for the seventh day on Monday.

The apex court will resume the hearing at 11 am on Tuesday. According to Live Law, senior advocate Dushyant Dave will be allowed to present his arguments till 1 pm, after which no one else from the petitioners’ side will be allowed.

During the hearing, Live Law reported, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for one of the petitioners, pointed out: “This is not about uniform. We are not dealing with military schools, we are not dealing with Nazi schools with regimentation. We are dealing with pre-university colleges.”

Continuing his arguments, advocate Dave said: “Just like turban for Sikhs, hijab is important for Muslim women. Nothing wrong with that. It is their faith. Somebody wanting to wear tilak, somebody wanting to wear a cross, everybody has the right. And that is the beauty of social life.”

“This country is built upon a beautiful culture..built on traditions. And in 5000 years, we have adopted many religions… India gave birth to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Islam came here without conquering and we accepted. India is the only place where people who came here settled here without conquest, except the British,” he stated.

Pointing out that the fears of Dr B R Ambedkar and Sardar Vallabhai Patel were coming true, Dave said: “How is it unity in diversity if a Hindu has to get permission from Magistrate to marry a Muslim? How can you shackle love? And Magistrate will take his sweet time and all the fringe elements will come in. How is it democracy?”

“Your Lordships are not just custodians of fundamental rights for us, citizens. Your Lordships can alone stand between parliamentary excesses and citizens,” Bar and Bench quoted Advocate Dushyant Dave as stating.

Mentioning that powerful western economies have taken a view and permitted Hijab, Dave further said: “The American Army has allowed turbans. That is the respect they have for religions. Constitution framers didn’t speak of turban, only kirpan.”

“The only religion that matters to this Court is the Constitution of India. As important is Gita for Hindus, Quran for Muslims, Guru Grant Sahib for Sikhs and Bible for Christians, without Constitution, we will be left nowhere,” Live Law quoted Dave as stating.

When advocate Dave referred to debates on Article 25 and said it “is founded upon tolerance”, Justice Dhulia asked if anybody in the Constituent Assembly said why it is important to include “propagate” in Article 25. “Perhaps, the reason is what given by Seervai..in some religions, like Christianity, it is an important part of faith to spread the message,” Live Law quoted Justice Dhulia as saying.

When advocate Dave claimed “high court judges have not really understood what Constitutional morality is, what Constitutionalism is and what Constitutional philosophy is,” Justice Dhulia said: “The problem the High Court sets for itself is whether it is essential religious practice, it holds it is only directory, it discusses fundamental rights and says when it comes to class room, there is no fundamental right.”

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