While it is true that the Supreme Court must not entertain interpretation of the religious texts, it remains equally relevant that it shows reverence to the tradition of the faith.
Nizamuddin Ahmad Siddiqui, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
The Supreme Court on September 22 finished hearing arguments in the case of the Karnataka hijab ban. The proceedings stemmed from multiple challenges to the decision of the Karnataka High Court which had upheld a government order barring the wearing of the hijab by female students in colleges and in schools in March. The Supreme Court has reserved its decision on the matter.
The question that the Supreme Court is dealing with may be loosely framed as follows: whether the wearing of the hijab could be allowed in public institutions, irrespective of the fact that these institutions prescribe a particular dress code or not.
Two notable interventions by the Supreme Court stand out so far – could a violation of the dress code be allowed, and can’t the hijab in a classroom be seen as a sign of social diversity?
Additionally, there have also been multiple mentions of the essential religious practices test, which seemingly might not find much ground in the present case. The test has received criticism from all quarters, especially for the notoriety it brings in the judicial verdict.
While it is true that the Supreme Court must not entertain interpretation of the religious texts, it remains equally relevant that it shows reverence to the tradition of the faith. I have argued earlier that the splitting of the religion into the binary of “faith” and “belief” might bring disastrous consequences, especially for the religions which are inherently communitarian.
Islam is a public religion. The proclamation of faith is in itself a public act. A mere belief in the unity of god and the message of the Prophet is not sufficient. It needs to be proclaimed so as to have an outward projection of that faith.
Published in: Scroll.in
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