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The Controversial Veil – Discussing the Hijab Row


Centre for Public Law presents an Open Discussion on The Controversial Veil – Discussing the Hijab Row  on Tuesday, 5th April, 2022 between 1 pm to 3 pm in ILS Law College, Pune.

The month of March witnessed a ground-breaking moment in Indian history when the Karnataka High Court delivered the much awaited “Hijab judgment”, Reshma v. State of Karnataka,  upholding the validity of the notification issued by Karnataka Government.

A significant question before the Karnataka High Court, in this case, was if wearing of hijab constituted an ‘essential religious practice’ of Islam. The court held that the wearing of hijab is not a part of Essential Religious Practice in Islamic faith and thus, is not protected under Article 25 of the Constitution. A Full Bench of the High Court further held that prescription of school uniform by the State is a reasonable restriction on the students’ rights under Article 25 and thus, the Government Order issued by the State of Karnataka dated February 5 is not violative of their rights. The judgment delivered by the Karnataka High Court is presently pending in appeal.

Though the Court has focussed only on the religious issues involved, the judgment has an overarching impact on politics, law, society as well.

Since the time of eruption of this controversy, a lot has been said and written in support  of or against the veil. The imposition of ban is supported on the teeth of governmental power to prescribe a  uniform for all irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex, etc. At the same time, the decision is looked at with critique by many, questioning the intentions of the Government. The judgment strikes the age-old practice followed by a community questioning its essentiality to the religion itself. It also brings to light critical issues relating to the right to freedom of expression of Muslim women, compelling them to adhere to uniform norms prescribed by the Government. Impact of this controversy on the right to education and its primacy in a welfare state cannot be lost sight of.

ILS Law College, while celebrating the Centenary year of its parent institution has planned to organise an open discussion covering various aspects of this judgment by inviting academicians, scholars and activists to cover various facets of this case.

The speaker – wise coverage of issue –

  1. Legal intricacies of the judgement:  Dr. Sanjay Jain and Dr. Nitish Nawsagaray
  2. Political context of the controversy: Dr. Suhas Palshikar
  3. Social impact of the judgment: Ms. Razia Patel