All India Muslim Personal Law Board approaches Pinnacle court against Karnataka Highcourt judgement in Hijab case

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The Karnataka HC judgement “curtails religious freedom and constitutional rights of Muslim women/girls”, said the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in its petition.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has moved the Supreme Court challenging the March 15 order of the Karnataka supreme court upholding the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions, stating that it “deprives the constitutional rights of Muslim girls to practice Hijab together with the varsity uniform” and “curtails religious freedom and constitutional rights of Muslim women/girls”.

“The basic truth is that the petitioners are forced to get rid of their hijab to avail the correct of education, at the value of self-respect and dignity”, said the petition filed by the Board and two “practising Muslim women” – Munisa Bushra Abedi and Jaleesa Sultana Yaseen – “who themselves wear hijab publicly spaces in exercise of their Constitutional rights”.

The plea said that the contention raised by the petitioners before the state supreme court “was that they ought to be allowed to wear a headscarf/hijab of the identical colour of the uniform in order that they'll remain according to their fundamental right of conscience and expression…whether the petitioners are entitled, on the doctrine of proportionality and as a matter reasonable accommodation to wear hijab”.

The tribunal, it added, had however framed “totally erroneous questions which have distracted itself from the important issues arising out of the record before” with the result that “the discussions on diverse constitutional principles have resulted into conceptual overlapping resulting in indirect discrimination”.

The core question raised before the state supreme court was that while determining the claim of the petitioners of asserting the basic right of conscience under Article 25(1) of the Constitution, it's not necessary for them to justify the identical on the bottom that their assertion is a component of essential religious practice, it said.

The state supreme court had also “laid an excessive amount of emphasis on propositions which ends into discrimination, exclusion and overall deprivation of a category from the mainstream public education system aside from the actual fact it seriously encroaches upon an individual’s sacrosanct religious belief”, the petition argued.

It is also a “case of direct discrimination against Muslim girls” and “also ignores the doctrine of reasonable accommodation”, the plea contended. It said the problems decided by the supreme court “widely impacts socio-religious ethos of the Muslim community” and “has widely opened the door of interference with the religious freedom guaranteed under the Constitution”.

The plea contended that the supreme court judgment “presents an erroneous understanding of the Islamic texts particularly the first and highest source of jurisprudence i.e., the Holy Quran”. It added that “as by the interpretation of scriptures within the Islamic holy books are concerned there's a consensus within the religious scholars of all schools of thought namely, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafai and Hambli that practice of Hijab is ‘wajib’ (mandatory), a collection of obligations, which if not followed, he/she will commit “sin” or become a “sinner”. Wajib has been kept within the “First Degree” of obedience”.

On March 15, a full bench of the Karnataka court dismissed a batch of petitions filed by Muslim girls studying in pre-university colleges in Udupi seeking the correct to wear hijabs in classrooms. The court ruled that wearing the hijab “does not structure an important religious practice within the Islamic faith” and freedom of faith under Article 25 of the Constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions.