The Karnataka High Court is hearing four petitions against action of educational institutions stopping female Muslim students from attending classes on the ground that they wear a hijab (headscarf).The petitions argue that the institutions are discriminating against the petitioners and other female Muslim students by denying them entry on the sole ground of them wearing a hijab.Recently, the Kerala government has issued an order clarifying that hijab or anything which highlights religious symbols cannot be allowed as part of the uniform of Student Police Cadet (SPC) project.Read more about the petitions here and here. The plea is being heard by Justice Krishna S Dixit. Live updates from the hearing below..Justice Krishna S Dixit: Keep all emotions aside. We will go by what constitution says. Constitution is above Bhagwad Geeta for me. I will go by the oath I have taken to the Constitution..State says it has not intervened in the matter. "We have given autonomy to the College Development Committees to decide the uniform and the students will abide by it," Advocate General.Senior Counsel Devadatt Kamat says State's stand is not that innocuous. That is why they are opposing the petition..Advocate General says if students want relaxation, they should approach the College Development Committee for the same..Kamat pointing towards a government order. The same is now being read out in Kannada.Kamat says his Kannada is not very great (he practices in Supreme Court) Bench says "Kannada is one of the most beautiful languages"..Advocate Tahir starts to read out the GO which is in Kannada..Wearing of head scarf (not burqa or veil) is an essential part of Islamic religion: Senior Advocate Devadatt KamatIt is an essential religious practice as prescribed by holy Quran. All the decisions cited by them - Madras, Bombay and Kerala - don't deal with this issue at all: Kamat .My second submission is 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): Kamat.My third argument is wearing hijab is a facet of right to privacy recognised as part of Article 21 by Puttaswamy judgment of Supreme Court: Kamat.My fourth argument is the government order is outside the scope of Karnataka Education Rules and State has no jurisdiction to issue the same: Kamat.Court wants to confirm whether the copy of the Quran furnished to the judge by the library is an authenticated version..Kamat now reading out Quranic verse 24.31 on dress code which mandates that neckline should not be revealed to anyone other than husband..Two injunctions in the holy Quran have been interpreted in several judicial decisions. One such decision is of Kerala High Court: Kamat.Right to practice religion is a fundamental right subject to public order, health and morality: Kamat reading out a judgment.State cannot say what is an essential practice of a religion and what is not. That is the sole domain of Constitutional courts: Kamat.State cannot make assumptive conclusions at all, says judge..No religion can hold State to ransom. I agree to that: Kamat. Kamat reading out from the judgment on the extent to which Constitutional protection is available to religious practices..Ultimately it boils down to this: whether the practice is essential to the religion or not. If a religious tenet does not allow woman to become a priest, then State cannot impose the same: Kamat reads out from judgment.The test is whether taking away of that practice changes the fundamental character of the concerned religion. Religious practice cannot be tested on secular thoughts outside of religious authority: Kamat from judgment..Thus, our secular thought cannot determine what is essential to a religion and what is not: Kamat .It is not correct for a woman after she starts menstruating to show any part of her body except hands and face to strangers: Kamat referring to hadith mentioned in the Kerala HC judgment..Just for my satisfaction, I will also read Bijoe Emmanuel judgment after I finish this judgment: Kamat says.The Karnataka GO relies on the Kerala High Court judgment to says hijab is not essential to Islam. This judgment is, however, not applicable at all: Kamat. .This is because the Kerala High Court decision was not in the context of wearing hijab in a govt institution but it dealt with such right in a private Christian institution: Kamat.Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj seeks intervention; says he has written on certain aspects relating to essential religious practice especially in relation to Sikh practices. If the Court feels his inputs might be useful, he might be permitted 15 mins to argue, Raj submits..Court says he is welcome to argue. According to Upanishads, knowledge should be accepted from everywhere: Justice Krishna Dixit says..Hearing to resume after lunch..Hearing resumes. Advocate General unable to join hearing since the hearing is full. AAG suggests removing some people from the virtual hearing..Kamat reading out Kerala High Court judgment on hijab ban in a Christian institution. That was a different case since minority right to establish and administer educational institutions under Article 30 was given primacy: Kamat.That decision is totally inapplicable in this case since that decision was in the context of private minority institution and not a govt institution: Kamat.Another judgment cited by them is Fathema Husain Sayed v. Bharat Education Society of Bombay High Court. However, in that case, the Court was dealing with a case relating to all girls school. The observation by the Court was in that context: Kamat.On the Madras High Court judgment relied upon by Karnataka GO, Kamat says it was not related to Article 25 and cannot be made basis for hijab ban. .Kamat cites authorities to emphasise that headscarf is part and parcel of Islamic faith..Kamat now referring to Bijoe Emmanuel case on Jehovah's witnesses' refusal to sing of national anthem..Bench: Much of law seems to be flowing from Kerala. Kamat: Karnataka is also a bastion of Constitutional law referring to Constitution Bench cases from Karnataka..Personally speaking, I may not subscribe to the view that children have to cover their heads. But courts have held that we are not to sit in judgment over someone who wants to do it: Kamat..State can say 'public order' with respect to any religious practice. Every religious practice can be stopped by State citing public order if they want to. The Court has to separate wheat from the chaff: Kamat..If it is public order issue, how is it that public order is affected only when they enter school wearing hijab and not outside: Kamat. .I am a brahmin and my son wears Namam to school. Can the school tomorrow say it affects public order?The petitioners are wearing hijab and not creating any disturbance to anyone: Kamat..Merely saying law and order will be disturbed is not sufficient. We have been quietly practicing our faith, wearing a headscarf and coming to college. To give it the colour of public order, this is an attempt to put the cart before the horse: Kamat..State cannot curtail fundamental rights of citizens on the facile ground of public order: Kamat citing Supreme Court judgment..The State should take action to facilitate exercise of fundamental rights and not in derogation of the same. If goons are creating disturbance, State has to ensure that the girls can exercise their right: Kamat..Kamat: In Ananda Margis case, Your Lordships might know it was different.. Bench: They wanted to do Tandava in public.. Kamat: In this case, a girl going to college, wearing hijab minding her own business, what law and order issue does she cause?.There might be an argument that 'education is a secular activity, why can't they (girl students) do religious practices at home.' But Secularism in India is different. We practice positive secularism: Kamat..We don't follow western secularism where State completely stays away from religious activities: Kamat..But here we allow students to wear Namam, hijab or cross: Kamat.Kamat now referring to how hijab wearing students were forced to sit separately in one institution. It is kind of religious apartheid: Kamat.Advocate General intervenes: He should not be making such submissions outside of what is stated in affidavit: AG Kamat: This is a court of law and I am entitled to make my submissions..Kamat refers to US case of Brown v. Board of Education on segregation of black and white students in US. He says such segregation hits equality under Article 14. Advocate General says submissions in court should be restricted to law and not politics..Kamat says he has filed an affidavit on this, but will not read it. Court recording Kamat's submissions. AG interjects: These submissions (on segregation) could have far reaching.....Bench: Whatever he says, I have to record it. I may agree or disagree, but I have to record it. AG: Please record my statement too. Bench: I will record it in bold letters..Court recording AG's submissions: "AG vociferously refuted submission of Mr. Kamat on the segregation of students. He (AG) stated that such baseless statements should not be made which could have dangerous consequences in a sensitive society like ours.".Kamat cites a verdict which says what dress to wear is part of right to privacy. Bench: Can my brother judges not wear judges attire tomorrow? Kamat: There can be a law. BCI can tomorrow lay down a law which is in consonance with the Constitution. I am conceding that..There were guidelines issued by Education Department which specifically say colleges should not insist on uniforms: Kamat Guidelines might not help you: Bench..I am not saying guidelines will trump the GO. I am only saying it to show what the policy was: Kamat..To sum up my submissions: 1. Wearing hijab is essential practice of Islam; 2. Ground of public order will not pass constitutional muster; 3. There is positive duty on State to maintain public order; it failed and then it cannot tell citizens don't exercise Article 25 rights..Kamat says considering that exams are approaching, and in view of the fact that petitioners have been exercising their rights since last 2 years, they be granted interim relief by allowing them to attend classes for now..Advocate General says he has instructions that there is some law and order situation. My request is there should not be protests, demonstrations in the interim: AG..Kamat says he completely agrees, but says students should be given protection. There was a video where a girl in hijab being chased by boys ...: Kamat..AG objects: These are exactly the kind of arguments which are dangerous. Such unsubstantiated statements should not be made. State is in control..I am glad AG said this. It is for State to maintain law and order. As far as petitioners are concerned, we will not do any protests on streets: Kamat..But State cannot suspend Article 19 rights on ground that law and order will be affected. It will have serious Constitutional repercussions: Kamat..When I was studying, these kind of things did not happen: Justice Krishna Dixit.."I believe all people are good people except few... I request all people...." Justice Krishna S Dixit..Court dictating order: Having heard counsel for the parties and pending further hearing of matter, this court requests the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquillity..This court has full faith in the wisdom and virtue of public at large and hope the same would be put to practice.