While hearing the batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court’s judgment which upheld the ban on wearing hijab by Muslim girl students in some schools and colleges in the State, Justice Hemant Gupta orally remarked that hijab could not be compared with Sikhism as practices of Sikhism were “well engrained in the culture of the country.”
In today’s hearings, Advocate Nizam Pasha had referred to portions of the Karnataka High Court judgment which had stated that Hijab was at best a cultural practice. In this context, he submitted that even if it was a cultural practice, it was protected just like the wearing of turban was protected for Sikhs. Adv. Pasha said that–
Justice Gupta mentioned in the morning that wearing of turban is cultural. It is protected. Wearing of hijab, even if regarded as cultural, is protected. If a Sikh has to wear a turban, and he is told not to come to school if he wears turban, it is violative…I went to an all boys School and in my class, there were several Sikh boys who wore turban of the same colour of uniform. It has been established that it will not cause violation of discipline.
Justice Gupta was quick to dismiss this argument as irrelevant by stating that the comparison with Sikhism was improper. He said–
The comparison with Sikhs may not be proper. The 5 Ks of Sikh have been held to be mandatory. There are judgments. Carrying of Kirpan is recognized by Constitution. So don’t compare practices…There was a case in Punjab. A college run by SGPC. The condition of admission was that anybody who won’t follow tenets of Sikhism can’t get. A girl was denied admission on ground she trimmed her eyebrows and the matter is pending here.”
He further stated that practices of Sikhism were well established and ingrained in the Indian society. He said that–
Please don’t make any comparison with Sikhism. These are all practices well established, well engrained in the culture of the country.”
“Islam is also there for 1400 years and the Hijab is also present”, Pasha responded.

Justice Gupta : Please don’t make any comparison with Sikhism. These are all practices well established, well engrained in the culture of the country.#Hijab #SupremeCourtOfIndia

Justice Gupta had, in the earlier hearings of the matter, remarked that a “pagdi” was not equivalent to a “hijab” and the two could not be compared as–
“Pagdi is different, it was worn in royal states. It is not religious. My grandfather used to wear it while practicing law. Don’t equate it with religion”
Earlier, Justice Gupta had also stated that a Chunni was also not comparable to a Hijab. This was pointed out when Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde stated that a headscarf or a hijab was already a part of uniform as even a chunni was allowed as part of the uniform. To this, Justice Gupta had stated–
Chunni is different. It can’t be compared to hijab. Chunni is used to be worn on shoulders…People don’t cover their heads in presence of elders in Punjab. That’s not the culture in Punjab.
Case Title: Aishat Shifa versus State of Karnataka SLP(c) 5236/2022 and connected cases.
Click Here To Read/Download Order
Reports of previous hearings:
Hijab Case : Can Religious Clothing Be Worn In A Govt Institution In A Secular Country? Supreme Court Asks During Hearing [Day 1]
Hijab Case| Secularism Doesn’t Mean Students Of Only One Faith Won’t Display Religion : Devadatt Kamat Before Supreme Court [Day 2]
If I Wear A Headscarf, Whose Fundamental Rights Am I Violating?Sr. Adv. Devadatt Kamat In Hijab Case Hearings [Day 3]
High Court Misquoted Quran To Hold Hijab Is Not Mandatory In Islam : Nizam Pasha Tells Supreme Court [Day 3]

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