Hijab Controversy in Karnataka

On February 5, 2022, Government of Karnataka stated that, ‘clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public law & order should not be worn”.

Key Points

  • This directive from government validates decisions of state education institutions to prohibit Muslim girl students from wearing hijab.
  • According to state government, the ban on wearing hijab in classrooms is not a violation of fundamental right to religious freedom guaranteed by Indian Constitution.

Karnataka Education Act, 1983

Padmini SN of education department (pre-university) involved Section 133 (2) of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 and stated that students will have to wear dress chosen by the appellate committee of the administrative board of pre-university colleges or college development committee. The Act seeks to provide for:

  1. Planned development of educational institutions
  2. Inculcation of healthy educational practice
  3. Maintenance and improvement in standards of education
  4. Better organisation discipline and
  5. Control over educational institutions in the State,

With the objective of fostering harmonious development of mental and physical faculties of students.

What is section 133 (2)?

Section 133 (2) of the act mandates that, a uniform style of clothes has to be worn compulsorily. However, private school administration can choose uniform of their choice.  It provides state the power to “give directions to officers or authorities under its control, which are necessary or expedient to carry out purposes of the Act. It shall be the duty of officer or authority to comply with the directions.


The directive of Karnataka government cited an order of Supreme Court in 2017 Asha Ranjan and Others vs State of Bihar and Others. Supreme court had summarised that larger public interest prevails upon individual interest by upholding larger interests, in a bid to ensure relationship between students and institutions. It also takes into consideration the individual rights.



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