Saturday, April 20, 2024

Karnataka HC on hijab controversy: Mediation request possible, only if both parties agree

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said that mediation was possible in the case related to petitions seeking quashing of Karnataka government order prohibiting them from wearing Hijab in educational institutions, only if both the petitioner and the respondents (State and College Development Committees) agree.

Responding to a plea for mediation in the Hijab case, the Full Bench observed that mediation was possible, only if both the petitioner and the respondents (State and College Development Committees) agree.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S. Dixit and Justice J.M. Khazi was responding to an oral request made by an advocate for mediation in the matter.

She said that whatever be the judgement, there will be still problems, and hence suggested mediation to solve the problem. She added that the rights of Muslim girls were being violated.

However, the Bench, which has been hearing the petitions filed by Muslim students challenging the ban on
hijab in colleges, expressed a doubt as to whether mediation could be possible in a Constitutional manner.

“Constitutional issues are involved. We have to answer those issues. How can mediation be possible? Mediation cannot be done in this manner in such matters,”

-Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said.

But the advocate expressed that she was confident about about the success of mediation in the matter. She suggested that the mediation can be done virtually as well.

“Please try to understand the basic principle that mediation can be done between consenting parties.
You first move to the other petitioners, and to the respondents, and if all of them agree, then we will
consider your request,” the Chief Justice said, before adjourning the hearing.

No major developments happened in the case today as the Bench primarily considered a few PILs, which were ultimately held to be not maintainable for lack of declaration of bona fides of the petitioners and material pleadings.

Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi sought time till tomorrow to begin his submissions in response to the arguments made by the petitioners over the past four days.

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The High Court reiterated its disinclination to hear the intervenors in the matter.

“We fail to understand the concept of intervention applications. We were hearing petitioners & then respondents. If we require we will your assistance. You should not as a matter of right ask to be heard. We don’t need intervention of anybody,”

-it remarked.

The bench went on to dismiss a PIL filed in the matter by a purported social activist through Advocate
Rahamathulla Kotwal noting that the petitioner had not made a declaration as to its bonafides under the
applicable PIL rules, and hence the same is not maintainable.

Another petition, filed by five college going girls, seeking permission to wear hijab, was dismissed on
the ground that the pleadings did not mention the particulars of the institution they are studying in.

However, liberty was granted to file afresh with all material particulars. The Bench heard Vinod Kulkarni,
party in person, seeking an interim relief to let Muslim girls sport hijab at least on Fridays – on
Juma day, most auspicious day for Muslims and the holy month of Ramzan, which is coming soon.


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