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Hijab row: ‘Shouldn’t have heard the case…’, Dave to SC

New Delhi: Senior advocate Dushyant Dave on Thursday told a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court that it should not have heard the batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court on hijab, instead the case should have been referred to a larger bench.

Dave, representing some of the petitioners’, submitted before a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia that they should have not heard the case, instead referred the case to a larger bench.

Dave, who apparently appeared annoyed with the limited time allocated to him to argue the case, said, “please don’t restrain us in time for arguing…” He added that the matter affects millions of people and he wants to show the Constituent Assembly debates and the warning of Sardar Patel.

Dave said he would not be able to finish his arguments today and this case is a serious matter. The bench agreed with Dave and he is expected to begin his arguments in the afternoon session, and permitted other lawyers to argue the matter in the morning session.

Advocate Shoeb Alam, representing some of the petitioners, submitted before the bench that the impact of the Karnataka government order is – “I will give you education, you give me your right to privacy”. He added that the state cannot ask the person to surrender the right to privacy.

Alam said on one hand, I have my right to education, a secular education, and on the other hand, I have my right to privacy, culture, etc., under Article 21. He emphasized that the state has an affirmative obligation and duty to facilitate education, and shared some statistics of Muslim girls in schools.

Senior advocate A.M. Dar, representing some petitioners, submitted that he will enlighten the court on the Quran. The bench told him that other lawyers, appearing for the petitioners, had submitted that courts are not equipped to interpret the Quran. Justice Gupta told Dar, “please don’t take us through all verses of Quran”.

The top court will continue to hear arguments in the afternoon session on the petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court’s judgement of March 15 upholding ban on hijab in the pre-university colleges.