A two-judge
bench of the Indian Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the
Karnataka hijab ban case. The bench of justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu
Dhulia was divided on whether the Karnataka government order that led to
educational institutions in the state banning the hijab, a head cover worn by
Muslim women, should be allowed to stand.

Hemant Gupta upheld the order while Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia quashed it.

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Here are 7
key takeaways from the Supreme Court order on the Karnataka hijab ban:

1.       The Supreme Court delivered a split
verdict. Justice Hemant Gupta held that wearing the hijab is not an essential
religious practice (ERP) in Islam and that the Karnataka state government’s
order serves the purpose of access to education.

2.       Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that
venturing into ERP is not necessary in this case and that the High Court adopted
an incorrect approach. “It was just a question of choice. I have held the ratio
in Bijoy Emmanuel squarely covers the case.”

For Justice Dhulia, the topmost priority while making a judgement on the
case was education of the girl child. “A girl child in areas does household
work and chores before going to school and are we making her life any better by
doing this (banning the hijab),” he said.

3.       The matter will now go to the Chief
Justice of India who will appoint an appropriately large bench to decide on the

4.       The Karnataka government has beefed
up security across the state in light of the split judgement. “Precautionary
measures like police picketing in important areas & continued patrolling
taken; also keeping close watch on social media to make sure no attempts made
to harm existing peace in society,” said Udupi SP Akshay Hakay to ANI.

5.       A section of Muslim girls in
Karnataka are challenging a government order that allowed educational
institutions to ban wearing the hijab in classrooms. The girls went to court
after institutions refused to let them enter class because they were wearing
the hijab.

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6.       The Karnataka High Court had ruled
upholding the government order stating that the hijab is not part of essential
religious practice
in Islam and the requirement for a uniform is a reasonable
restriction on the fundamental right of the freedom of expression.

7.       The Karnataka government, arguing
before the Supreme Court, said the government order was gender-neutral and did
not target any particular community. It further said that the Muslim girls
challenging the hijab ban never wore the hijab to educational institutions
before 2021 and were doing so as part of an agitation orchestrated by the
Popular Front of India.