BREAKING: 'We restrain all students from wearing religious clothing inside classrooms until further orders': Karnataka HC issues interim directions in the hijab ban case

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The copy of the order by the special bench of Karnataka High Court headed by CJ Ritu Raj Awasthi in the ongoing hijab controversy has been uploaded on the high court website today. The bench has issued interim directions until further orders.

The order reads, "We restrain all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa),scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders."

However, the bench has made it clear that this order will confine to only those institutions where the College Development Committees have prescribed the student dress code/uniform.

On Thursday, the bench which also consists of Justices Krishna Dixit and Khazi, had indicated that it will pass an order for re-opening schools and colleges, however, they will ask the students not to wear any kind of clothing which is religious in nature to the schools and colleges as an interim measure. The order passed is in line with the same.

Significantly, tabling the order the bench has also expressed pain over the present unrest. 

"We are pained by the ongoing agitations and closure of educational institutions since the past few days, especially when this Court is seized off this matter and important issues of constitutional significance and of personal law are being seriously debated," the order reads.

Further, taking note of the detrimental effects of the endless agitations on children's education, the order by the special bench notes, 

"Ours being a civilized society, no person in the name of religion, culture or the like can be permitted to do any act that disturbs public peace & tranquility. Endless agitations and closure of educational institutions indefinitely are not happy things to happen."

Therefore, the order, taking care of the interest of the students, adds, "The hearing of these matters on urgency basis is continuing. Elongation of academic terms would be detrimental to the educational career of students especially when the timelines for admission to higher studies/courses are mandatory. The interest of students would be better served by their returning to the classes than by the continuation of agitations and consequent closure of institutions."

Lastly, issuing the interim directions, the court has expressed hope and trust that all stakeholders and the public at large shall maintain peace & tranquility.

The special bench is hearing petitions pertaining to plea(s) by girl students challenging the alleged ban of wearing Hijab in government pre-university colleges in Udupi district. This bench was constituted after the matter was referred to a larger bench by a Single Judge on Wednesday.

The single-judge bench of Justice Krishna Dixit had placed the ongoing Hijab controversy before the Chief Justice of the High Court stressing that the petitioner(s) may pray for interim relief(s), if any, before the Chief Justice's bench. 

The matter has now been posted on February 14 at 2.30 p.m. for further consideration.

Case title: Resham Vs State of Karnataka & Ors