NEW DELHI: After the Supreme Court’s split verdict in the hijab case, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has appealed to the Karnataka government to withdraw its order on the hijab. If the government does so, the issue will dissipate by itself, the board noted.
“The education of women in the country, especially among Muslims, receives less attention, and hence, the government should not support initiatives that create obstacles in the way of girls’ education,” the board’s statement said on Thursday.
The Karnataka government order had directed government schools in the state to abide by the prescribed uniform, and private schools were directed to mandate a uniform as decided by their boards of management.
On Thursday, a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia pronounced a split verdict on the hijab issue.
Justice Gupta, upholding the Karnataka High Court judgment, said, “The essential religious practices of the followers of Sikh faith cannot be made the basis of wearing of hijab/headscarf by the believers of the Islamic faith.”
Justice Dhulia set aside the earlier judgment of Karnataka High Court on the hijab issue. “What constitutes Essential Religious Practices is left to the doctrine of that religion itself. It may or may not be a matter of essential religious practice, but it still is, a matter of conscience, belief, and expression”, Dhulia said while hearing various appeals challenging an order passed by the Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court on March 15, which dismissed the pleas challenging the Government order dated February 5.
The AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said that Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia’s view on the hijab case was in line with the requirements of the Indian Constitution and personal freedom, and that he had focused on promoting education of girls and on removing barriers in the way of that, which was “something to welcome.”
“Due to the divided opinion of the judges, the issue will now be referred to the larger bench. The board has so far supported the pro-hijab side in the Karnataka High Court. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, the board became a party to it, and presented its position with full readiness,” the Muslim Personal Law Board’s statement further read.
“The board will continue to play its part in the fight of these young girls to carry on with hijab with full strength and willingness,” it added. (ANI)