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Karnataka High Court refers hijab case to larger bench

Published : Feb 09, 2022 18:17 IST T+T-
The deserted campus of Central College in Bengaluru after the Karnataka government ordered high schools and colleges to shut for three days, on February 9.

The deserted campus of Central College in Bengaluru after the Karnataka government ordered high schools and colleges to shut for three days, on February 9.

"Even interim prayers merit consideration at the hands of larger bench that may be constituted by CJ in his discretion and therefore the arguments advanced on interim prayers are reproduced here," Justice Krishna S. Dixit stated.

The bunch of writ petitions pertaining to the wearing of hijab (Islamic scarf) that was being heard by a single judge bench of the Karnataka High Court has now been referred to a larger bench. Justice Krishna S. Dixit noted in his order delivered this afternoon that "Having regard to the enormity of questions of importance which are debated, the court is of the considered opinion that the papers be put at the hand of CJ [Chief Justice] to decide if a larger bench can be constituted in the subject matter." Justice Dixit was presiding over the hearing of the writ petitions that began on February 8 and continued today.

Speaking during the proceedings, Mohammed Tahir, one the lawyers for the petitioners requested that the honourable justice grant interim relief. Tahir said, "Students are stuck on the streets [because of the issue]. Classes have been suspended in colleges. The academic year will finish in another two months putting their [protesting students] entire future in jeopardy. Hence, the court should provide interim relief on the matter."

Responding to this intervention, Advocate General of Karnataka Prabhuling K. Navadgi, said, "There is nothing that is illegal in the government’s order [regarding uniforms]. College committees have already taken decisions regarding uniforms." Representatives of other petitioners too spoke at the time, following which Justice Dixit dictated his order. "Even interim prayers merit consideration at the hands of larger bench that may be constituted by CJ in his discretion and therefore the arguments advanced on interim prayers are reproduced here," Justice Dixit stated as part of his order.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has stated that the State government would follow the decision taken by the High Court in the matter.