BENGALURU: Purdah or burqa may not be an essential practice but a headscarf or hijab is an essential part of Islam, and two judgments of the Kerala High Court and the Madras High Court, which has gone through Islamic verses and scriptures, have arrived at this conclusion, senior counsel Devadatt Kamat told the Karnataka High Court.
Besides this, none of the counsels appearing for the government have disputed these judgments, said Kamat, who is representing the Muslim girl students from Udupi. He was responding to arguments made on behalf of the State government, Government PU College for Girls at Udupi, College Development Council and other authorities of the college.
He also argued that counsels representing the respondents have not cited a single judgment of any court in the country, saying that headscarf is not an essential practice of Islam, but he has submitted several judgments to support the claim.
Contending that the government order banning the wearing of hijab is illegal, he argued that there is no legal restriction on exercising this right under Article 25(1). The court asked how he can insist on wearing a hijab in an institution where a uniform is prescribed, which right has been infringed, and the same has to be established. In reply, Kamat argued that “my rights flow from the Quran”.
Senior counsel AM Dar, representing students, including one from a private college, argued that “wearing of the hijab is a commandment from Allah and hence it is a religious practice”. Allowing students to wear hijab doesn’t affect anybody’s right," he added, pointing out that students are now barred from attending classes for wearing hijab.
A counsel representing a teacher of the college argued that prescribing uniform is to bring about equality, and the impugned order is not intended to interfere with religious practice.
Meanwhile, Advocate-General Prabhuling K Navadagi submitted the status of the investigation into the complaint filed over a threat to a teacher of Government PU College in Udupi by an organisation, and events leading to the controversy, in a sealed cover.