PFI started campaign on social media relating to Hijab, SG Mehta tells Supreme Court | India News

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NEW DELHI: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a movement was started on social media by an organisation called Popular Front of India (PFI) relating to the Hijab issue in Karnataka. SG Mehta also mentioned protests against Hijab by women in Iran.
Solicitor General Mehta, representing the respondent in the matter, told the top court that a movement was started on social media by an organisation called Popular Front of India. Adding further, he said, “there were continuous social media messages that start wearing Hijab and this was not a spontaneous act but a part of a larger conspiracy”. SG Mehta said that children were acting as advised.
SG Mehta also referred to protests against Hijab in Iran and said that in Islamic countries, women are fighting against Hijab. He further added that mentioning Hijab in Quran will not make it essential, maybe, ideal but not essential.
Mehta apprised the court of the Karnataka Government’s order, which did not prohibit any particular community students from wearing apparel and the order said uniform has to be uniform. He also apprised the court that till the year 2021, no girl student was wearing any hijab.
He also took the court through the chronology of events.
SG Mehta submitted Karnataka Govt’s order recommending that all students will wear prescribed uniforms as the government had to intervene in the circumstances because the public order was being disturbed.
SG Mehta apprised the court about the agitation that took place. He said that students were protesting outside the gates, saying they want to wear a hijab while others were coming with saffron shawls.
He said that the circular is in religion neutral direction and this does not prevent one community and uniforms must be implemented for students of all religions.
During the hearing, the court also asked various queries to SG. Among them Justice Dhulia sought to know if had there been no uniform, there would have been no objection to scarf or hijab.
Mehta replied that if no uniform has been prescribed by the management, the students shall wear that dress which goes with the idea of equality or unity, so no identification of any particular religion and hence no hijab or saffron shawls. He also took court from the aspects of essential religious practice and mentioned that one cannot think of a Sikh person without Kada etc. He said that essential practice must be shown to be co-existing with the religion itself.
He gave various examples including one that if suppose the Bar Council of India tomorrow may prohibit tilak, then it will have to go unless we can show it is an essential religious practice, which it is not.
During the hearing, Justice Dhulia remarked that Karnataka High Court should not have gone into the essential religious practice tests. The court remarked that they relied on a term paper of a student, and they have not gone to the original text. The other side is giving another commentary. Who will decide which commentary is right, the court raised questions.
Justice Gupta asked questions relating to mufflers which may be necessary for winter. Justice Dhulia asked, “if the cap of the same uniform colour is allowed then why not Hijab?” SG Mehta said, “cap is not against unity or equality”.
On a lighter note, SG Mehta also remarked on the beliefs that all religions have. He said “We have made people fear religion. I should be God-loving, not God-fearing.” He said that he is not criticising any community.
He also gave various other examples including the state’s duty towards the people who drink and dance in public and when stopped then called it that it will be against morality. He also said, “suppose during COVID, someone wants to take Rath Yatra, Govt wants to stop, they will say it is an essential religious practice, who has to decide? Court. At some stage, Court will have to decide”.
Meanwhile, the petitioner’s lawyer concluded their arguments today.
While concluding his arguments, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the petitioner, quoted Rabindra Nath Tagore and submits Tagore said “we must awake in a country where fear does not exist”. Dave further added, “we cannot put fear in the minds of people”.
“Karnataka HC was unsustainable and the impugned Karnataka Govt’s circular is unconstitutional”, Dave added.
Dave argued over the dignity of women adding that it is the Hijab that adds dignity to women. He said, “dignity is very important, like, how a Hindu woman covers her head, it is very dignified”.
The court was hearing various pleas against Karnataka HC’s judgment upholding the ban of Hijab in educational institutes in the Supreme Court. The hearing will continue on Wednesday as well.



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