The Supreme Court on Monday shot a volley of questions at petitioners’ counsel challenging the ban on wearing of hijab in government colleges in Karnataka, wondering whether a student’s choice of wearing minis to the classroom would be justified, and highlighted that a dress code is applicable on a golf course, restaurant, and courtroom.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia said wearing hijab might be a religious practice, but the question is can one take hijab to a school where a uniform is prescribed? The bench orally observed Karnataka’s government’s order allowing college development committees to prescribe uniforms did not appear to violate the right to education.
Justice Gupta queried senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, representing one of the petitioners, if the absence of a prescription of a dress code would enable the students to wear anything to the classroom. “Can students come in minis… whatever they want when there is no prescription, would the executive power of state come in?”
“You are saying Act (Karnataka Education Act) doesn’t prescribe dress code and does not debar prescription either. Does it exclude the state then?”
“You may have a religious right…. can you take that right within an educational institution where a uniform is prescribed. You may be entitled to wear the hijab or scarf; can you carry the right within an educational institution (where a uniform has been prescribed).”
At the beginning of the hearing, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing one of the petitioners, submitted the case raises an important question, whether hijab is essential to Islam or not. He said hijab is worn in a large number of countries throughout the world and the case involves a constitutional question which has not been dealt with earlier.
The Karnataka government, led by Advocate General Prabhuling K. Navadgi submitted that “we have left it to the institution concerned. The government purposefully left it to the college development council.” He added that to his knowledge, at least two colleges in Udupi allowed Hijab.
Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, also representing Karnataka, submitted discipline in colleges was only the issue, but petitioners were unnecessarily expanding it and some under the guise of religious practices wanted to violate it.
Hedge tried to link wearing of hijab with modesty and dignity of girls, and added that most girls’ colleges prescribe salwar kameez and dupatta. He argued further, can one ask women not to wear a chunni on head, for example in Patiala? Can one control the modesty of a woman?
The bench said even courtrooms have a dress code, for example could a woman wear jeans to the courtroom saying it’s her choice, there is a dress code on a golf course, which is a public space, and also certain restaurants have a dress code and they do not allow people in shorts. “Can a person say I won’t follow dress code but still have access?” it asked.
Hedge said the golf course is private property. The bench replied that this is not always the case.
Hedge argued that under the rule making power of the Karnataka Education Act, the executive cannot violate the fundamental rights. The bench noted that the government is not denying the right to education, but they are saying that you have to come in uniform. The bench has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Wednesday at 2 pm.
The top court was hearing a clutch of petitions against the Karnataka High Court judgment, which upheld the right of educational institutions to ban wearing of hijab in pre-university colleges in the state.
BJP slams Cong for abusing PM Modi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the Congress for abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Taking potshots at the Congress, party’s National spokesperson Sambit Patra on Saturday said that Congress leaders have completed a century of abuses against Modi.
Addressing a press conference, Patra added, “The manner in which top leaders of the Congress party are repeatedly using language and abuses for PM Modi is being seen on TV every day. In such a situation, the Congress has established itself as a party of abusers. Congress leaders called Modi ji ‘lowly’, ‘Yamraj’ and what not. In this way, Congress leaders have completed 100 abuses. It reflects their thinking.”
“A Congress leader from Karnataka has called Modi ji ‘Bhasmasur’. Similarly, recently Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge called Modi ji ‘Ravan’. Sonia Gandhi even called Modi ji a ‘Merchant of Death’,” he said.
Urging the people of the country, Sambit added, “We call upon the people of Gujarat and the country to reject such Congress party in a democratic way by adopting the cycle of democracy.”
Condemning Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, he said, “Similarly Arvind Kejriwal tries to make a lie the truth. Just a few days back, Kejriwal said that Manish Sisodia has got a clean chit and the scam that has taken place in the Excise policy is not a scam, but he is not going to be saved.”
He also added, “From Manish Sisodia to many accused have changed mobile phones dozens of times in this case. From this you can guess whether the common man changes mobile phones so quickly.”
The BJP National Spokesperson said, “Large-scale destruction of digital evidence done by Ex-Excise Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia; 170 mobile phones destroyed by 36 accused in Delhi liquor scam including him. Manish Sisodia changed four mobile handsets in one day and 14 handsets in 2-3 months after CBI’s FIR against him. He might have consulted Delhi CM Kejriwal, AAP leader Vijay Nair, liquor scam accused Amit Arora and Sunny Marwah to destroy digital evidence. Sisodia has a huge hand in Excise policy scam, investigation is going on, no one can save him.”
Shraddha murder case: Aaftab’s post-narco test concludes
The post-narco test of Aaftab Amin Poonawalla, the accused in the ghastly murder of his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in Delhi’s Mehrauli area, concluded on Friday. His test was conducted inside the Tihar prison by the FSL officials.
As per sources, the team from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini had reached Tihar jail for the post-narco test at around 11.30 a.m.
“A four-member team had reached Tihar Jail No.-4 on Friday along with the investigating officer for a post-narco analysis session of Aaftab,” said a senior FSL official.
“The test started around 12. He was again asked similar questions and his answers will be matched with the questions from the previous narco analysis session,” said the sources.
If needed, the narco test will be done again, claimed the sources.
Further details were awaited.
Meanwhile, the prison authorities have also increased the security of his barrack after the police van was attacked by men, who were armed with swords.
Though his confessions in the narco test cannot be used in the court, yet it proved that the investigators were proceeding in the right direction.
Pertinent to mention here that the findings of both polygraph and narco test are not admissible in the court. These tests will only help the Delhi Police gather evidence, and thereby increase the possibility of prosecution of the guilty.
Warrants against 16 to thwart Hanuman Chalisa call at Shahi Eidgah in Mathura
To thwart a call by a Hindu outfit to recite the Hanuman Chalisa inside Shahi Eidgah mosque on December 6, the Mathura city magistrate has issued bailable warrants against 16 people connected to the outfit.
Mathura Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Martand Prakash Singh said that no permission has been sought by any organisation and cases have already been registered against two people so far for attempting to gather a crowd for the event.
Last month, the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) had urged all its leaders and supporters to arrive at the mosque, adjacent to Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, on December 6 to recite the Hanuman Chalisa.
ABHM president Rajyashree Bose Chaudhary had said, “The event will take place on December 6. The peaceful recital of Hanuman Chalisa will be conducted at Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi between 12 and 12.30 p.m.”
Sanjay Kumar Pandey, SHO of the Govind Nagar police station said around three dozen people have already been bound by notices. Being bound by a notice is a situation wherein an executive magistrate serves a show cause notice with a surety bond to a person on the apprehension that he/she may disturb the peace.
“Those who failed to respond and fill the required surety bond have been issued bailable warrants by the court of the city magistrate. Sixteen people have been issued warrants,” he said.
Chaudhary, meanwhile, condemned the police action and said, “We have planned a peaceful event. As such, there is no reason for police to intervene because we will offer prayers at the site.”
The ongoing dispute involves ownership of 13.37 acres, which the petitioners claim belongs to the Lord Shri Krishna Virajman.
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