During the hearing, the advocate general stated that the operative part of the Karnataka government order delegated decision-making authority to the institutions.
Hijab-wearing kids come for the class as a policewoman stands to watch outside a government girls school in Udupi, Karnataka, following the recent hijab ban (Reuters)
According to news agency PTI, the Karnataka government informed the high court on Monday that the hijab is not an essential religious practice and should be maintained outside of educational institutions. The hearing will resume at 2.30 p.m. tomorrow.
"There are three tests to evaluate if a practice is necessary religious practice," Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi said in court for the Basavaraj Bommai government, according to the online website Live Law. Is this a fundamental belief? Is this a core practice in their religion? Will the religion perish if that practice is not followed?
The Karnataka high court panel, which included top judge Ritu Raj Awasthi and justices Krishna Dixit and JM Khazi, asked the advocate general if hijab should be allowed in educational institutions.
"The operational section of the government directive leaves it to the institutions to make a decision in this regard," said advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi.
"The government order grants institutions complete liberty in determining uniform." The Karnataka Education Act's preamble aims to promote a secular environment, he claims.
The Karnataka government counsel further contended that the state's position is that religious elements should not be included in the uniform.
During the hearing, the advocate general referred to a speech by Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, in which he asked for religious instruction to be kept outside of educational institutions, according to the legal website Live Law.
"Our Constitution did not enact what Karl Marx has claimed, that religion is the opium of the masses," Justice Dixit responded.