By Latheef Farook
In its verdict on 15 March 2022,Karnataka High court, has declared that Hijab is not an essential practice of Islam and upheld the restriction on Muslim women wearing a hijab in educational institutions . The court rejected all the petitions filed by nine Muslim girl students studying in two government pre-university colleges in Udupi district.
Wearing of hijab (head scarf) by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practices in Islamic faith and it is not protected under the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India, the High Court of Karnataka declared.
The court upheld the legality of the Karnataka Government’s 5 February 2022 order prescribing wearing of uniforms in schools and pre-university colleges under provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983.
India today is not the democracy of Mahathma Gandhi,Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru. India today is the mobocracy of the followers of Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS Brahmin Muslim killers.
It appears that the judgment was written by Karnataka’s BJP government and read out by the high court. This judgment was not something unexpected as the Indian judiciary has been politicized especially under RSS front BJP government.
For example prime minister Narendra Modi, as the chief minister of Gujrat, was accused of being the architect of genocide of Muslims in February 2002 killing around 2500 Muslims besides burning their properties. He was declared persona non grata by many countries including United States and Europe.
However the judge who inquired into his role in the genocide freed him of all charges. The judge was rewarded well .Later since Narendra Modi was elected as prime minister violence against Muslims, including the February 2000 pogrom in Muslim areas in New Delhi, and has been order of the day.
How many of the hired perpetrators were brought to justice? Instead they roam free all over. Under such circumstance what justice persecuted Muslim could expect?
The petitioners had argued that wearing of hijab is a part of essential religious practice as per Islamic faith and college authorities cannot prevent them from attending classes wearing hijab.
The bench said that no case has been made out to initiate disciplinary enquiry against authorities of the Government Pre-University College for Girls, Udupi, and office-bearers of its College Development Committee for preventing five petitioner-girl students of the college from entering the classroom wearing hijab.
Meanwhile in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu and Kashmir in a statement in Srinagar termed the decision as interference in the religious matters of Muslims and the Muslim personal law.
It maintained that this one sided decision of the court adversely affects the right to education of Muslim women who want to continue their studies while wearing the hijab or veil; and in this way so many of Muslim women will be deprived of the fundamental right to education. The wearing of veil by these girls in no way undermines the rights of other students or causes them or the institution any inconvenience, so the issue in itself is a non-issue, it said.
The MMU said veil or pardah is part of Islam as ordained by the Qur’an for Muslim women; however there is no compulsion on its use. It said, the Muslim students who continue their studies while wearing hijab or veil have every right to do so and their action and decision while being admirable, should be respected.
The religious understanding of Islam and its tenets by the judges is unsound and misleading, the statement said, adding that therefore, the leadership of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) should challenge this decision of the Karnataka court in the Supreme Court of India and take steps to achieve justice and supremacy of truth.
The MMU said for the past some years now, it is becoming evident that the rights of India’s largest minority, the Muslims, are being subverted and there is deliberate attempt to interfere in their religious practices and challenge them which is very concerning and disconcerting. A meeting will also be convened soon to review all the relevant aspects in this regard, it added.
In an article titled Hijab judgment a blow to modesty, education and Indian secularism Dr. Javed Jamil had this to state;
The position taken by the HC that Hijab is not an essential part of Islam appears to be based on the opinion of some liberal “Islamic” scholars or some “Muslim” figures in big positions who in their quest for recognition in certain quarters, tend to introduce “liberal” elements in Islamic teachings.
The Court needs to be told that in India (like any other Muslim country), the overwhelming majority of the people belong to certain schools of thought and they are guided in their views by the positions taken by these schools. All these schools of thought are unanimous in their view that Hijab includes covering of Head, bosom and other parts of the body though they may differ about covering the face.
The Court should have given consideration to their view rather than that of the minuscule majority. Ultimately, it is the personal ideology of the individuals who want to wear Hijab which is important.
It will be too much to expect from modern day courts that they will consider modesty and ban on all forms of nakedness as an important element in creating a safe and secure society. But in a country like India, where Secularism does not mean negation of religion but equal respect to all religions, not allowing girls students to cover their heads in the name of uniformity cannot be a good commentary on India’s secular credentials. In that case, turban, kirapn, tilak and teek as should also be banned. WE need to practice equality, not uniformity.
Unfortunately, Indian intellectual classes are now bowing in increasing number to Western concepts of “Freedom of Choice”. It has already decriminalized adultery and homosexually, and in near future marriage before 18 can also be officially banned. While marriage before that age will become illegal, sex will remain illegal, while having another wife is already illegal except in Muslims, relations outside marriage have become legal. No amount of statistics showing the hugely disastrous effects of all these practices on health and life will convince the “Modern” intellectuals that religious morality is far more health and life protective than the so-called Modern Morality.
What looks ominous is that the days ahead appear to be truly full of turmoil for the safety of India’s brand of secularism.
Disclaimer: Karnataka High Court one sided ruling on hijab.
Perhaps written by BJP Govt and read outin the court - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view