List of hijab cases delayed as judges were unwell, will soon bench: CJI NV Ramana

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The Hijab case was again mentioned before the Chief Justice of India today for urgent listing.

Before Senior Counsel Meenakshi Arora, who was there for the mention, began his submission, CJI N.V. Ramana told him, “I’m going to bench. One of the judges is not well.”

Arora said the petitions were filed in March. “It was March…at least if a date could be given,” she said.

“Wait. If the judges had agreed, the case would have come,” CJI Ramana said. The petitions are filed against the judgment issued by the Karnataka High Court on March 15 upholding the ban on the wearing of hijab in educational institutions.

Two weeks ago, on July 13, lawyer Prashant Bhushan had mentioned the urgent registration issue, saying that petitions had not been registered since March and students were facing difficulties. The CJI then agreed to list the case next week.

In March, CJI rejected a plea by lead attorney Devadutt Kamat for an urgent listing of the case, saying the hijab issue had nothing to do with the exams. On April 26, when another attempt at listing was made – this time by lead attorney Meenakshi Arora – CJI had told him the case would be listed in 2-3 days.

The SLP was filed against the Judgment of March 15 rendered by the High Court of Karnataka, confirming the government decree of 05.02.2022, which effectively prohibited petitioners and other Muslim students from wearing the headscarf in their pre-university colleges. A plenary High Court panel comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna Dixit and Justice JM Khazi ruled that wearing the hijab by women was not a core religious practice of Islam. The bench further held that the requirement of a uniform dress code in educational institutions was not contrary to the fundamental rights of the applicants.

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