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Students Appearing For Recruitment Exams Can Wear Hijab, Says Karnataka Minister

Karnataka Higher Education Minister M.C. Sudhakar on Sunday, October 22, said that hijab-wearing candidates will be allowed to appear for recruitment examinations conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA). Recruitment examinations in the state are slated for October 28 and 29 for various government services.

Karnataka High Court had earlier upheld the institutional ban on hijab.
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Karnataka Higher Education Minister M.C. Sudhakar on Sunday, October 22, said that hijab-wearing candidates will be allowed to appear for recruitment examinations conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA). Recruitment examinations in the state are slated for October 28 and 29 for various government services.

“Some people want to raise objections over small issues, but we cannot infringe on the rights of people. Even candidates writing NEET are allowed to wear the hijab. People who are against the hijab must check the guidelines for NEET,” Sudhakar said. The previous BJP government in Karnataka had banned students from wearing hijabs to government schools in 2022. 

The matter was taken to court and the ban was upheld by the Karnataka high court in March 2022, which suggested that wearing hijabs can be restricted by the government colleges where uniforms are prescribed and ruled that “prescription of a school uniform” is a “reasonable restriction” that is “constitutionally permissible”. The order was challenged in the Supreme Court, which delivered a split verdict in October 22.

A two-judge bench said that the matter will be placed before the Chief Justice of India for his directions. However, the top court has not yet formed a bench to hear the matter.

Since then, thousands of Muslim girls across the state were robbed of their access to education and a sizable number of women were even unable to appear for their examinations, a report by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Karnataka revealed.  

After the Congress government came to power in May this year, Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge said the orders and legislations enforced under the previous BJP regime like school textbook revision and anti-conversion laws, which are against the state's interest, would be revised or withdrawn by the new Congress government after reviewing them.

On the revocation of the hijab ban, Karnataka minister and senior Congress leader G Parameshwara said the government "will see to it in the future".

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