‘The essentiality of the Hijab is not an issue in these pleas’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: Attorney Yusuf H Muchhala, appearing on behalf of the Muslim side in the Karnataka hijab ban case, told the Supreme Court that ‘amritdhari’ Sikh women also wear a turban and that their right to wear it in an educational institution should also be protected as much as the right of Muslim women to wear a headscarf. “We are concerned about individual rights. Whether the hijab is essential to Islam is not an issue in this batch of motions,” Muchhala said, not wanting the court to consider whether the hijab is essential to Islam.
The last court hearing had seen a bench of judges Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia rely on the Muslim side’s argument about the non-binding nature of five tenets of Islam – Nama, Riza, Zakat, Hajj and Imaan — to wonder how the hijab, ranked lower in the hierarchy, could then be qualified as compulsory in Islam.
The bench sought clarification from Muchhala on his conflicting positions. He said, “First, you asserted that wearing the hijab is a religious right. Now you are arguing that the court should not engage in the interpretation of the Quran to determine whether the hijab is essential to the religion. And then you argue for the case to be sent to a bench of nine judges to determine if this practice is essential to religion. “The bench said: ‘Even if this case is referred to a bench of nine judges (which would hear matters relating to the entry of Hindu women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple, Muslim women into the mosques and Parsee women in agiyari), you could argue before the bench of nine judges that it also cannot interpret the Quran and rule on the essentiality of the hijab to Islam. ”
Khurshid argued that a Muslim woman’s wearing of the hijab could be due to her religious belief, a call of conscience, a cultural necessity or a personal choice to maintain her identity, dignity and privacy. “Cultural practices must be respected in a country of great cultural diversity like India. Muslim women do not want to challenge the rule that requires them to wear uniform. They want to wear an additional fabric, in the nature of a scarf, to honor their cultural requirement as well as their personal choice. “The disputes would continue on Wednesday.


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