The Karnataka government on Friday contended before the High Court that the hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and preventing its use did not violate Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
''We have taken a stand that wearing hijab is not an essential religious part of Islam,'' Advocate General of Karnataka Prabhuling Navadgi told the full bench of the High Court comprising Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice J M Khazi and Justice Krishna M Dixit.
The AG also rejected the charge of some Muslim girls, who challenged the Karnataka government's order on February 5 that barred students from wearing hijab or saffron scarves saying that it violated Article 25 of the Constitution.
Article 25 gives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion to the citizens of India.
The government order also does not violate Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, Navadgi argued. Article 19(1)(a) guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.
The Advocate General also contended that the February 5 order of the state government was in accordance with the law and there was nothing to object in it.
The High Court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the hijab row, last week restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.