NEW DELHI: Several BJP leaders on Tuesday hailed the Karnataka High Court order upholding the ban on wearing hijab in schools and colleges, saying the entire debate on the issue should be seen from the context of women empowerment.
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed petitions filed by a section of Muslim students from the Government Pre-University Girls College in Udupi seeking permission to wear Hijab inside classrooms, saying the headscarf is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.
The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction, constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi further noted.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, who hails from Karnataka which witnessed violent protests due to the hijab row, appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
"We welcome this judgment. The basic job of students is to study and there should be unity among students," Joshi said.
Echoing similar sentiments, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said he appreciates the judgment.
"Basic argument in favour of hijab is that wearing it is freedom of expression and it is a fundamental right.
But the court prima facie has found that the same article 19 (2) of the fundamental right also provides for reasonable restrictions," Prasad said.
"Therefore, the school norm of prescribing dress code has to be followed because that comes under reasonable restriction," he added.
"After examining all texts, the court has found it (hijab) is not at all an essential part of religion," he said further.
Referring to the "profound" initiatives of empowering women taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by permitting them to become combative officers in the Army and fly fighter planes in the air force, Prasad said there is a dress code for joining the armed forces or scientific laboratories.
"I would suggest the entire debate should be seen in the context of women empowerment," he said. The hijab row erupted in January this year in Karnataka when a government college in Udupi allegedly did not allow a few girls wearing the headscarf in the college.