A Supreme Court bench, who was hearing the case about hijabs in educational institutions in Karnataka on Thursday, asserted that the habit of wearing hijab cannot be compared to Sikh religious rituals. “The five Ks of the Sikh culture have been held to essential religious practices,” said justice Hemant Gupta.
Furthermore, Justice Gupta added that the Sikh Practices are well ingrained in the Indian culture and could not be compared with wearing hijab. “Carrying a Kirpan has been recognised by the constitution of India, so, these practices cannot be compared,” he further added.
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However, Mr. Nizam Pasha, the lawyer of some petitioners, stated that the Islam has been in India for the last 1400 years, and so the practice of hijab. The apex court was hearing various petitions challenging the Karnataka HC’s order issued in March this year, upholding the decision of Karnataka government to ban hijab in the educational institutes.
Justice Hemant Gupta stated, “The comparison with Sikhs may not be proper. The “5 Ks” of the Sikh culture have been held to be mandatory. There are judgments. Carrying of Kirpan is recognized by the 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.”
The Karnataka High Court’s ruling that the hijab was at most a cultural practice was cited by advocate Nizam Pasha. Moreover, he argued that even though it was a traditional practice, it was protected in the same way as the wearing of turban was protected for Sikhs.