Wearing Hijab is not Essential Part of Religion: Karnataka HC
- The HC held that wearing hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and is not, therefore, protected under by the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.
- The court said it was a reasonable restriction that was constitutionally permissible.
- The Bench also upheld the legality of the order prescribing guidelines for uniforms in schools and pre-university colleges.
- The court said that school uniform will cease to be a uniform if hijab is also allowed.
- Some factions have said that the order is a blow to right to education for Muslim women.
- Other see it as an empowerment of women.
- Feminists says that it’s not about an item of clothing, it’s about the right of a woman to choose how she wants to dress.
- The Leftists perceived it as a blow against the universal right to education without discrimination, guaranteed by the law and the Constitution of India.
The doctrine of “essentiality”:
- It was invented by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the ‘Shirur Mutt’ case in 1954. The court held that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion.
- Essential religious practice test is a contentious doctrine evolved by the court to protect only such religious practices which were essential and integral to the religion.
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