Written by Armaan Ahluwalia, a grade 10 student.
In the first week of January 2022 at a government college in Udupi, Karanataka, a few female students wearing a hijab were barred from attending classes on account of violation of the dress code policy prescribed by the College Development Committee
The growing controversy
This issue quickly turned divisive and violent. The Karnataka High Court upon hearing the petition ruled that the Hijab is not an ” essential religious practice” in Islam. The right to wear a hijab is not constitutionally protected. Under the Karnataka Education Act (1983), the Court states that colleges can restrict students from wearing the hijab. Clothes that do not threaten ” Equality”, ” Unity” , ” Integrity” and ” Public Order” must be worn in educational institutions.
The difference in opinions
At present, the students have approached the Supreme Court against the High Court judgment, as many feel that prohibiting the hijab is a denial of Freedom of Conscience, infringement-to the right to privacy, practice, and propagation of religion as one can lawfully express one’s identity in their manner of liking.
While many feel the spirit behind a dress code or uniform is to ensure homogeneity in a classroom and to do away with religious beliefs.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused an earlier hearing against the High Court verdict.