'State Has Not Banned Hijab, Only Prescribed Uniform Which Is Religion Neutral': Karnataka ASG In SC
“No person has been discriminated on the ground of religion. All have been treated equally,“ says ASG KM Nataraj in Supreme Court.
As the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia resumed its post lunch hearing of the hijab case, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Nataraj, who is arguing for state of Karnataka, started by clarifying that the state has not banned hijab.
“Much hue and cry is made that hijab is banned. Let me make it very clear, state has not banned hijab and it was never the intention. State has only prescribed uniform which is religion nuietral” said ASG Nataraj at the outset.
He added that the state has neither prohibited nor promoted any religious activity. “We are very clear and conscious of the fact that classification on the basis of religion is impermissible in institutions,” he said.
Article 25 and Article 14 would be relevant in this case, said the ASG. “In schools, uniforms are prescribed to treat all students equally. So Article 14 steps. All communities are treated equally. That is the most appropriate. What is done by state is, all of you are equal, all of you must come in uniform irrespective of your religion,” he said.
He then argued that the state action was to promote oneness and that the students should feel equal, Justice Dhulia who is hearing the case asked if the state was ‘preventing them from entering school‘ in order to ‘promote national integration’.
ASG Nataraj clarified that the state was not preventing anyone but only saying follow uniform. ‘But you prevent them from wearing hijab?,’ asked Justice Dhulia.
As he reiterated saying the ‘question is not hijab’ and that the state is only asking for the uniform to be followed, Justice Dhulia said ‘the net effect is a girl can’t wear hijab. Give a straight yes or no answer’.
ASG Nataraj referred to the judgement that held that keeping a beard by an airman was violating the code of the forces.
He asked the court if a Hindu who claims performing hawan is fundamental right can be allowed to do so at the India Gate or in court, and added that ‘all religious rights must be balanced’.
As he concluded his arguement, ASG Nataraj said there was no requirement to refer to the constitution bench and this is ‘a simple case of discipline’.
“No person has been discriminated on the ground of religion. All have been treated equally“ he said, as reported by Live Law.
Also Read: Women Revolting Against Hijab Even In Islamic Nation Like Iran, Hijab Protests Orchestrated By PFI: Karnataka Govt Tells Supreme Court
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