The Karnataka High Court today said that it would pass an interim order restraining the petitioners in the Hijab ban matter and other students from wearing any religious garment or headdress, till the matter is disposed of..The Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi orally remarked,"We will pass an order that let the institutions start, but till the matter is pending, these students and stakeholders will not insist on wearing any religious garment or head dress. We will restrain everyone. We want peace and tranquility....Till the disposal of the matter, you people should not insist for wearing all these religious things. We will restrain everyone (in the interim) from adopting all these practices.".The Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by Muslim girl students in the State claiming that they are not being allowed to enter colleges on account of the government order which effectively bans the wearing of hijab (headscarves)..Appearing for one of the petitioners, Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde said that we would argue on the Constitutional questions raised in the petition, as well as statutory questions and questions on the Rules involved in this case. He said,"Since September 2021, petitioners were facing discrimination, marked absent and made to stand outside the class."It was his submission that in the Karnataka Education Act, there is no specific provision that deals with uniforms. On going through the Rules framed under the Act, he said,"There is no prescribed penalty for violation. Even if some penalty has to be imposed, Your Lordships should examine whether keeping children away from classes is a proportionate penalty.".Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, representing another petitioner, pointed out that the petition by Hegde's client was filed before the government order (GO) was passed on February 5. He thus urged the Court to hear the challenge to the GO first.Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi put forth the stand of the State, saying,"...our stand is they should as of now adhere to dress code prescribed by concerned college. We want all students to come to college and classes have to start. So my submission is the issues will be considered by Court but in meanwhile education should commence."Kamat then urged the Court to allow the students to attend classes while wearing hijab in the interim, until the Court decides the matter."This is not a harmful practice. These are innocuous practice. It is not like somebody else is being harmed," Kamat said..When the Court asked Hegde whether he would make submissions on the final hearing or on the interim relief, he said, "The wisdom lies in taking a middle path till the Court decides the matter...I am requesting the State, that irrespective of dress, food, faith, they are all our girl children. This isn't just about essential religious practice. It is a case of essential education rights.".Hegde then went on to make the following submissions, among others:- Right to wear a hijab falls within right to freedom of expression, privacy and conscience;- Constitutional rights cannot be left to politicians or MPs whether they are in power or not. Ultimately, it is the Constitution which protects all citizens;- This is a government institution; belongs to every inhabitant of Karnataka, and of every citizen of India. Can you tell a set of people, you have to forsake your faith to attend it?.Kamat then contended that the GO suffers from total non-application of mind. The entire basis of the GO is three High Court judgments which held that Hijab is not part of Article 25, he pointed out. He went on to explain how the three judgments are totally against the stand of the State. .After hearing the lawyers, the Bench adjourned the matter for February 14. In the interim, it said that the petitioners would not be allowed to wear hijab or any other religious garment to colleges..The matter was being heard by Justice Dixit, who on Wednesday, referred it to a larger Bench stating that the case involves important issues.On Tuesday, the Court had heard arguments by Kamat, who represented the petitioners. The Senior Advocate made the following submissions:- Wearing of head scarf (not burqa or veil) is an essential part of Islamic religion;- Wearing of hijab is protected by right to expression under Article 19(1)(a) and can be restricted only on grounds under Article 19(6);- Wearing hijab is a facet of the right to privacy recognised as part of Article 21 by Puttaswamy judgment of Supreme Court;- Government order is outside the scope of the Karnataka Education Rules and State has no jurisdiction to issue the same.Before the conclusion of the hearing, the Court urged the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquillity in the wake of protests against the order..Meanwhile, a petition was filed today urging the Supreme Court to take up the matter given the pan-India ramifications of the issue. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, however, deemed it fit to let the High Court hear the matter first..The first petitioner alleged that Government PU College, located in Udupi, stopped her and other female Muslim students from attending classes on the ground that they wear a hijab (headscarf). She contended that the freedom of conscience and the right to religion are both guaranteed by the Constitution, despite which she and other girl students were singled out arbitrarily for belonging to the Islamic faith.Further, the manner in which they were ousted created a stigma against them among her batchmates, affecting their mental health as well as their future prospects, it was submitted. The plea claimed that wearing of hijab was an essential part of Islam and enjoys protection under Article 25(1) of the Constitution, which confers the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion.Most recently, two more Muslim students pursuing the BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) course at Bhandarkar College of Art and Science in Kundapura approached the Court with a similar grievance.This plea stated that the petitioners, like other Muslim students, have been wearing a headscarf over their college uniform from the time they started studying in the college, and that there is a specific provision in the college rulebook which permits Muslim girl students to wear a headscarf.However, for the first time on February 3, the petitioners and other Muslim girl students were prevented from entering the college and attending classes by the Principal and staff, who told them that there was a government order against wearing a headscarf.