Even as the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday adjourned its hearing on the hijab ban petitions to resume it on Wednesday, Minister for Higher Education C.N. Ashwath Narayan clarified that no uniform is stipulated in degree colleges, and hence, students are free to wear the dress of their choice. Colleges are scheduled to reopen Wednesday.
"In schools and pre-university colleges where a dress code or a uniform has been prescribed, it is imperative to follow the rules,” the minister told the media at Chamarajnagar.
The matter is being heard by the High Court of Karnataka, and there is an interim order, which everyone should abide by, he added.
"The rules were not framed overnight. They are not in favour of, or against anyone, but for the collective good, and they should be adhered to,” he said.
Ahead of the reopening of colleges, prohibitory orders were imposed around colleges in the Tumakuru district.
Meanwhile, in the Karnataka High Court, petitioners for the girls wanting to wear a hijab were not able to complete their submissions and the bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi will continue hearing the case Wednesday.
The petitioners questioned the right of the Karnataka government to issue orders on dressing norms to schools and colleges and argued that the students should be allowed to wear headscarves in colours that match their school uniform.
The petitioners pointed out that the Kendriya Vidyalayas run by the Centre allows students to wear headscarves in colours that match the uniforms.
Senior advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for the petitioner, said the Indian Constitution follows positive secularism, not like Turkish secularism, that is negative secularism. "Our secularism ensures that everyone’s religious rights are preserved," he said. In this context, he referred to a judgment of a South African court on the issue of whether a Hindu girl with roots in South India could wear a nose ring in school. The judgement said that it was not a case about uniforms, but exemptions to existing uniforms.
Meanwhile, cases of high school students being barred entry for wearing hijab, citing the High Court interim order, continued on Tuesday.
Students wearing hijab and their parents entered into arguments with school staff in parts of Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan districts.
Many students wearing hijab and accompanied by their parents reached the Government High School in Chikkamagaluru Taluk after the school staff asked the students not to enter the premises with the hijab, they argued that they had the right to wear the hijab.
As school authorities found it difficult to handle the situation, they declared a holiday after taking permission from senior officers.