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‘Heckler’s veto’ can’t be used to bar hijab: Counsel in Karnataka high cour | India News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Stressing that the doctrine of “heckler’s veto” cannot be applied for curbing fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution, senior advocate Devadatt Kamat said on Tuesday that the state cannot bar Muslim girls from wearing hijab citing public order.
Continuing his arguments before a full bench of the Karnataka high court, which is hearing a batch of petitions, Kamat, representing two girls from a Kundapur college, said the state cannot stop him going out on the street just because someone else does not like him, and added that his fundamental rights cannot be curbed by the “heckler’s veto” doctrine.
Recounting his personal experience, Kamat told the court that he used to wear a rudraksha when in school and felt a certain degree of protection and link with his creator. “Lawyers and judges wear certain ‘nama’. This is not a display of religious identity. It is a practice of faith. Article 25 protects that. To counter that, nobody wears a shawl,” he submitted.
If the state says that if somebody wearing a headscarf could lead to trouble and therefore it cannot be allowed, such an argument is not permissible, he said.
Kamat also cited a judgment by Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud in which the latter had referred to growing intolerance in the country. Kamat argued that India’s secularism is positive in nature when compared to that of Turkey and said that the state has to play the role of an enabler. He said that wearing of the hijab is an innocuous practice and not a display of religious identity and jingoism, and that the essence of Article 25 protects the practice of faith.
According to him, unlike Article 19 where there is a concept of reasonable restrictions, there is no such concept under Article 25 and the state could not have ventured into defining and curbing the same through its February 5, 2022 circular by citing the words “public order”.
The court will resume hearing on Wednesday.
CDCs are extra legal bodies
Appearing for a sole Udupi girl student, senior advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar said she was prevented from entering the college on January 28, three days prior to January 31, 2022, when the government decided to have a high-level committee to lay down norms for the uniform. He said, as of now, even the February 5 circular is premature as no uniform is prescribed and consequently there is no ban on the hijab. He said the college development committees, which have been entrusted with the power to prescribe uniform, are, in fact, extra-legal bodies as neither the Karnataka Education Act nor the rules provide for their existence.
Dupatta plea dismissed on technicality
A full bench of the Karnataka high court, headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, on Tuesday dismissed on a technicality an interlocutory application (IA) seeking modification of the interim order to allow students to cover their heads with dupattas and stoles that match the uniform. The application was filed by a group of Udupi college students. According to the Rules of Practice, the application has to be accompanied by an affidavit from one of the petitioners, but in the case at hand the advocate had filed the affidavit, advocate general Prabhuling K Navadgi said, adding that the affidavit contains certain serious allegations as well.

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