The Supreme Court refused to hear an urgent petition seeking to enforce a uniform dress code in educational institutions across India on Thursday.
Petitioner Nikhil Upadhyay, the son of Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, requested a uniform dress code for all registered and recognised educational institutions “to ensure equality of status and social equality.” Upadhyay highlighted his son’s plea, which he wants to be heard alongside the Hijab issue next week.
He requested that the petition be filed with others challenging the Karnataka High Court’s decision upholding the state government’s ban on wearing hijabs in educational institutions. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana expressed his disinclination to list Upadhyay’s petition.
“I’ve told you a number of times. If every day you file a PIL, we’ll have to constitute a special court. How many times have you filed litigation? What is the urgency? Every you file a PIL? Hijab matter was filed long back. Sorry. Every case you cannot file a PIL. Parliament is not functioning?”CJI N V Ramana
Nikhil Upadhyay stated that he submitted the case in response to protests in Delhi on February 10 against the hijab ban in Karnataka institutions.
“Educational institutions are secular public places meant to impart knowledge and wisdom, provide employment, promote good health, and contribute to nation building, not to follow essential and non-essential religious practises,” he argued.
“Mr Upadhyay, everyday I’ve to hear your case only? All the problems under the sun, Parliament members issue, nomination issue, election reforms, etc. These are all political issues, you go to the government. If the court takes up all political issues, what are political representatives for, asked the CJI further, adding that some matters are left for the Parliament to deliberate.”
On February 5, the Karnataka government issued an order banning the wearing of clothing that “disturbs equality, integrity, and public order.”
The students challenged the ban at the High Court. The Karnataka High Court maintained the state government’s ban on hijabs in schools and colleges on March 15, ruling that the headscarves were not required by Islam.
A group of students then petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the order. According to their appeal, many Muslim girls were dropping out of schools and institutions as a result of the High Court judgement.