On 9th day of hearing on Karnataka hijab row, SC says ‘losing our patience’

On 9th day of hearing on Karnataka hijab row, SC says ‘losing our patience’

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked a lawyer of the petitioners in the Karnataka hijab row cases to wrap up their rebuttal arguments within an hour tomorrow when hearing in the matter will resume. A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia told advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing one of the petitioners, that they were “losing…patience”.

The apex court heard submissions in the matter for the ninth day. “We will give one hour time to all of you. You finish that. Now, it is an overdose of hearing,” the bench told Ahmadi, PTI reported.

Also Read | Hijab ban order led to 17,000 girls skipping exams in Karnataka, advocate tells SC

When Ahmadi agreed with the bench, the latter asked in a lighter tone if they had “any other choice”.

During the day’s hearing, the Karnataka government told the apex court that it had only prescribed uniforms in educational institutions that were religion-neutral.

Karnataka additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj told the bench that the state has not banned hijab, and neither prohibited nor promoted any religious activity. He also put aside the requirement to transfer the matter to a larger bench arguing that it was a simple case of discipline in educational institutions.

Karnataka’s advocate general Prabhuling K Navadgi said the notice on no hijab is applicable only inside the classrooms, and there is no restriction on wearing it in school transport or even on premises of the educational institutions.

Justice Gupta also put to the Karnataka government the petitioners’ argument that whatever is stated in the Quran – the holy book of Islam – is the word of God and sacrosanct.

Nataraj said that today one person says it is her right to wear hijab, and tomorrow another will say he wants to wear a shawl while someone else would want something else. He added that a secular educational institution cannot have religious symbols.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, AG Navadgi and ASG Nataraj have argued on behalf of the state, while senior lawyers Dushyant Dave and Salman Khurshid have presented views of the Muslim petitioners.

(With agency inputs)

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