The Supreme Court is hearing a batch of appeals challenging a Karnataka High Court verdict that effectively upheld the ban on wearing hijab in government schools and colleges.The Karnataka High Court had on March 15 upheld a Karnataka government order (GO) effectively empowering college development committees of government colleges in the State to ban the wearing of hijab (headscarves) by Muslim girl students in college campus.The petitioners - Muslim girl students from various colleges in Karnataka - had approached the High Court after they were denied permission to attend classes on account of wearing hijab.A three-judge Bench of then Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi had held that:- Hijab is not a part of essential religious practices of Islam;- Requirement of uniform is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a);- The government has the power to pass the GO; no case is made out for its invalidation.One of the pleas before the top court has argued that the High Court "failed to note that the right to wear a Hijab comes under the ambit of ‘expression’ and is thus protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution."It also contended that the High Court failed to take note of the fact that the right to wear Hijab comes under the ambit of the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.The case is being heard by a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia. Live updates from the hearing below. .Hearing resumes..Justice Hemant Gupta: Mr Hegde we would like a common compilation after the arguments end.Senior Advocate Hegde: Dr Dhawan and Mr Ejaz Maqbool had a great experience of this during Ayodhya case It will be done..Maqbool: One matter has to be defined as a lede matter and then compilations can be filed therein. Written submissions has to be filed from both sides. This will be filed with flagging, etc done. Then each counsel will divide on areas to be addressed by them..Maqbool: But compiling everything on a Monday afternoon... Supreme Court: No no not today in 2-3 days.Solicitor General: The High Court lede case was Ayesha Shifa.. that can be taken as lede.Hegde: My petition was the first to be filed after High Court judgment..Advocate Javedur Rehman informs court that only one matter challenges the interim order and others challenge the substantial government order restricting the use of Hijab..SLPs challenging interim order disposed off. Petitions challenging the Karnataka Govt order has been taken up now.Justice Hemant Gupta: What is the time that will be taken?.Senior Advocate Rajiv Dhawan: The case delves with a constitutional question which this case has not dealt with earlier. This deals with a significant question if Hijab is essential to Islam..Justice Hemant Gupta: Can you say that you want to wear a religious thing in a government educational institution?.Justice Gupta: Our constitution says ours is a secular country and can in a secular country you say that a religious clothing has to be worn in a government run institution. This can be an argument..Sr Adv Dhawan: When there is a prescribed code then can turban be worn. Look around you Milord.. In court 2 there is a picture of judge wearing pagdi..Justice Hemant Gupta: Pagdi is not religious. My grandfather used to wear it while practicing law. Don't equate it with religion.Sr Adv Dhawan: Here question of millions of girls... who adhere to the uniform but also insist to wear the Hijab..Sr Adv Dhawan: As per Article 145(3) deals with minimum number of judges who can hear a substantial question of law. Here the question is can the right of religious clothing be reconciled with uniform..Sr Adv Dhawan: It was suggested that scarf be of same colour of uniform, Even in this court some women are wearing. Now in schools can they asked be to removed it? What this court will rule the whole world will look at it. Hijab affects women across the country and globe..Sr Adv Dhawan: There are two inconsistent High Court orders. One by Kerala High Court and one by Karnataka High Court where one says Hijab permitted and one says its not. What the Indian Supreme Court holds in this regard will be very important. Justice Gupta: Ya ya we will look at it..Sr Adv Sanjay Hegde begins: The High Court judgment does not individually deal with submissions. High Court framed the questions.Supreme Court: Only 1 and 2 are important questions and others are only reverse..Sr Adv Hegde: What does Karnataka Local Education Act say? Can you make rules and give direction and can those directions run foul of other provisions of the Act..Sr Adv Hedge: Today is Teacher's Day and this started in Udupi as an instance between teacher and student which has now blown up. What I had said that the issue must be confined to Udupi and that is how broader things may not have been gone into..Sr Adv Hegde: These girls who wore Hijab to school faced discrimination, was made fun of and also were asked to stand outside the classroom. When parents informed that there was consent for Hijab from school, the school principal candidly said it was no a requirement..Sr Adv Hegde: When petitioner parents came to meet, they were made to wait all day and the strategy was to frustrate them and concede. Then district education officers were approached. The officers reprimanded the school principal for not allowing students wearing Hijab to attend class..Sr Adv Hegde: Please look at Section 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act and whether is it mandatory for students to wear uniforms as mandated by the governing body of an institution. Justice Dhulia : So it is up to college Committee or Board of supervisors?.Sr Adv Hegde : In private colleges, board of supervisors and Government colleges it is as per Development Committees. This was an incident in a place which was attended by me and my parents. Udupi should not be proud of this. It blew out of proportion due to dynamic of politics..Sr Adv Hegde: Can you deny education to women contingent upon the attire or clothes they wear. Thus, keeping it religion neutral and in the realms of the Act..Supreme Court: What is your preliminary objection? Sr Adv Hedge: If a case can be decided on purely statutory grounds without entering the constitutional scheme is a better approach. can someone be excluded from college because you think they wear the uniform does not adhere to uniform code..Sr Adv Hegde: Most of the colleges prescribe salwar, kameez and dupatta. So, now can we tell a grown woman that you cannot have control over your modesty or place it above your head. can this be done in Patiala? Perhaps no..Justice Hemant Gupta: once a lady lawyer appeared in SC wearing a jeans and she was asked not to. she can also say I will wear what I want.Sr Adv Hegde: Can anybody tell her you will not access the court because attire...Justice Gupta: Mr Dave will tell us that a dress code is there for a golf course as well.Sr Adv Hegde: That is a private party. Justice Dhulia: It is not a private property. Justice Gupta: It can also be the norm or rule that shorts are not allowed in a restaurant..Sr Adv Hegde: This is about access to education, the education for which all of us pay taxes.Supreme Court: Sorry only 4 percent pay taxes. Sr Adv Hegde: Indirect taxes we all pay, but I would not join issue here. Access to government education....Sr Adv Hegde: In this case... one girl joined a private college where hijab is allowed. The second girl is doing 12th at a private school... this judgment will have bearing on vast section of society..Sr Adv Hegde: When education for girls started .. by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar they used to be taken in covered cars... Supreme Court: Okay, got it.. access to education will be denied if hijab is not allowed..Justice Dhulia: Don't take us there and take the time of court. Justice Gupta: You say educational institution cannot issue a rule but what about the state unless there is a statute which prohibits dress code. So tell me can a student come in minis, midis, whatever they want..Supreme Court: We need not follow blindly what High Court said, but tell me if the act prescribes something or not, then will the state executive power will come into play or not?Sr Adv Hegde: The executive power cannot be exercised at the cost of fundamental rights..Justice Gupta : Mr Hedge.. then let others take up on the issue of fundamental rights. Please don't tell us all this.. directive principles of state policy etc etc.. we know.. Sr Adv Hegde: Milord sometimes reading this is important. Judges smile (okay go on)..Sr Adv Hegde: The rules mostly relate to school education and these events have taken place at Pre University Colleges at 10+2 stage. When the uniform is sought to changed then notice is issued a year in advance..Justice Hemant Gupta: This about changing colour of uniforms or may be changing to trousers etc...Sr Adv Hegde: Government prescribed curricula cannot include power to prescribe uniform. Justice Dhulia: But strictly speaking curriculum won't include uniform... Sr Adv Hedge: The government order says no attire can be worn which shows religion being professed..Sr Adv Hegde: The GO is contrary is object and purposes of the act and it cannot be used to give a direction etc..Sr Adv Hegde: Even under Rule 11A uniform prescribed must be in consonance with the mandate of the Act..Sr Adv Hedge: Like kapdo se pehchan sakte hai etc will also be out, the Act of recognition through this is also beyond the act as there cannot be any discrimination on basis of religion. Next any rule cannot go further than the Act..Senior Advocate Hegde refers to the cases of statutory interpretation.Justice Gupta: What is your argument?.Sr Adv Hegde: When the legislature has not specified anything on uniform in the act, then government order cannot create a new set of disabilities and cannot take away right to attend schools and colleges..Justice Gupta: So you are saying rules cannot be issued to make uniforms uniform? Justice Dhulia: Uniforms uniform. Both the judges laugh..Sr Adv Hegde: Suppose a girl has been asked to wear knee length skirts, can't the girl decide what is her level of modesty?.Justice Gupta: I understood your argument that statute does not have anything on the uniform.Justice Dhulia: But you cannot question the power of them to frame the uniform...Justice Gupta: I studied when class 11 was in schools. Then there was transition as plus two was in colleges and we opted for colleges since there was freedom from uniform, as a school student you have to wear uniform. I opted for college as there was no uniform..Sr Adv Hegde: In South India colleges have uniforms... Justice Gupta: May be they did not want indiscipline after students like you (laughs).Sr Adv Hegde: I was a very bad student. No no all colleges have uniform.Justice Dhulia: Must be an engineering college? Sr Adv Hegde: No..Sr Adv Hegde cites judgments on how some students were denied to due to disability etc. Justice Dhulia: Stop taking us to the by lanes etc. come to the highway Sr adv Hegde: Sometimes by lanes are important. The highway has been set out before the larger bench..Sr Adv Hegde: The Sabarimala review case was referred to 9 judges bench. What is the scope and ambit of right under Article 25? what is the scope and extent of word morality under articles 25 and 26? Supreme Court: Where is religious practice here?.Sr Adv Hegde: There are Quranic verses. Justice Dhulia: Strictly speaking this does not come under this particular reference. Justice Hemant Gupta: More or less you have concluded... let state answer..Justice Gupta: You may have a religious right and can you take that right within an educational institution where an uniform is prescribed. You may be entitled to wear the hijab or scarf, can you carry the right within an educational institution which prescribes uniform...Justice Gupta: They are not denying right to education what they are saying as state is you come in the uniform... Sr Adv Hegde: But chunni is there as uniform..Justice Gupta: Chunni is used to cover shoulders. Please don't compare chunni to hijab. Sikh women wear it to cover head in gurudwara..ASG KM Natraj: The only issue is discipline in an institution and they don't want to follow it. Justice Gupta: How is hijab violating discipline of institution? ASG: They cannot violate the school uniform code in the garb of religious rites being violated..Karnataka AG P Navadgi: School authorities wrote to us seeking guidance since after Hijab students wore bhagwa shawls and which then led to unrest in educational institutions. This is the background of the government order..AG Navadgi: State was cautious not to prescribe any uniform but kept it open for every institution to prescribe an uniform. Some institutions have banned Hijab. But challenge is to government GO. But, here government did not interdict any right. We only said follow institution rule..Justice Gupta: It was said that Rule 11 does not empower such rule making AG Navadgi: Once it was stated that GO was not in question at all.. arguments were elevated to Article 25 violation etc henceforth. This challenge was a non starter..Justice Hemant Gupta: So a minority educational institution can go on with a Hijab? AG Navadgi: Yes, absolutely. They can permit and there is no government interference and government did not cautiously want to interfere..Supreme Court: What about government run institutions? AG Navadgi: The college development committees are entrusted to take a call. some have taken order to not allow hijab like the Udupi college and that is not under challenge here..Justice Gupta: Are the Christian-run schools allowing hijab? AG Navadgi: No, they are not allowing.Sr Adv Hegde: They should submit all this in a counter affidavit and since they are not filing it they cannot raise it..ASG: When the statute is silent, the executive power steps in under Article 162 of the Constitution.Sr Adv Devadatt Kamath: My point of argument will be this case does not give rise to any constitutional question. Supreme Court: Okay, Mr Dhawan will also argue. Mr Dhawan be ready.Supreme Court: List the matter for September 7, 2 pm for hearing.