Karnataka hijab row: Judges who delivered verdict to get Y-category security

Published on Mar 20, 2022 12:04 PM IST
Karnataka hijab row: The verdict was delivered earlier this week. 
A hijab-wearing student walks past a worker painting a wall to conceal a pro-hijab slogan, Hospet, March 16, 2022 (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
A hijab-wearing student walks past a worker painting a wall to conceal a pro-hijab slogan, Hospet, March 16, 2022 (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

Three Karnataka high court judges, who delivered the verdict on pleas challenging the state order restricting the wearing of hijabs (headscarves) in classrooms, will get Y-category security cover, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Sunday. The development comes after two people were arrested over the death threats to the judges. "We've decided to give 'Y' category security to all three judges who gave the Hijab verdict. I have instructed the officials to probe the complaint thoroughly in which some people gave life threats to them," the chief minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Earlier this week, the high court had ruled that "wearing of hijab is not essential in Islam" in line with the state's order that restricts the wearing of headscarves in classrooms, which triggered protests. Upholding the state's authority to prescribe uniform in educational institutions - under the Karnataka Education Act - the court had declared that “adherence to dress code is a mandatory for students”.

The order has now been challenged in Supreme Court, which is likely to hear the petitions after the Holi break. “Give us some time…we will see after the Holi vacation,” Chief Justice NV Ramana had said during a hearing.

On Tuesday, soon after the high court order, the Karnataka chief minister had appealed for calm, saying, “The honourable three-bench high court has given its verdict...the uniform order by the government is upheld...[it said]...hijab is not part of essential religious practice of religion. Therefore, I request everybody in society, parents, teachers, students, and those who are concerned about education...whatever the high court has said we have to see it is implemented and peace and order are maintained..."

The state's February 5 executive order had led to massive protests and counter-protests across the state and in several other cities across the country.

In its 129-page judgment, the three-judge bench - headed by chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi - held that Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab for Muslim women and that the attire “at the most is a means to gain access to public places” and a “measure of social security”, but “not a religious end in itself”.

(With inputs from ANI)

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