The Karnataka government on 5th Feb 2022 ordered to ban Hijabs worn by Muslim women, stating that it should not be worn in educational institutions as it interrupts equality, sincerity, and public law in schools and colleges. The state government invoked Article 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act, which states that a uniform style of clothes has to be worn mandatorily. The Karnataka Government contended that the ban on wearing Hijabs to schools and colleges is not a violation of the fundamental right to religion, guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The controversy began in January when Muslim girls of Udupi started wearing Hijabs in the classroom and in protest, the Hindu students started wearing saffron scarves. Gradually the controversy grabbed political attention, where the Congress leaders supported the Muslim girls on wearing Hijabs while the ruling party BJP said it will not allow the Talibanistan of Educational institutions.
The controversy reached the High Court, and three petitions were filed before the Karnataka High Court, by the Muslim students claiming the fundamental right to religion under Article 25 and arguing upon the grounds of discrimination against them, by denying them entry in college with Hijab.
One of the petitions mentions that the petitioners, like Muslim students, have been wearing their scarf from the time they started studying in the college and there is a specific provision in the college rulebook that permits the Muslim students to wear Hijab.
On Wednesday, the single judge of the high court referred these petitions, challenging the ban, to a larger bench.