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SC Notice to Karnataka Govt on Petitions Against Hijab Ban; Hearing on Sept 5

Apex court comes down heavily on some petitioners seeking adjournments.
SC Notice to Karnataka Govt on Petitions Against Hijab Ban; Hearing on Sept 5

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the state and other respondents on petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state and posted them for hearing on September 5.

One of the advocates, appearing for some of the petitioners, said these matters came up suddenly in the cause list on Saturday and there are some advocates who have to come for the hearing in the apex court from Karnataka.

"Karnataka takes only two-and-a-half hour flight," the bench observed.

Solicitor Generla Tushar Mehta, representing Karnataka, said a question of law was involved in the matter and no counter may be required to be filed.

When the bench posted the matter for hearing on September 5, one of the advocates requested that two weeks' time may be given.

"Come on Monday (September 5)," the bench said.

When the counsel said the matter may be listed for hearing on a non-miscellaneous day in the apex court, the bench said if need will arise, it would take up the matter on a non-miscellaneous day.

"May I request. Your lordships may give two weeks. It will not make much difference," one of the counsels said.

The bench said the petitioners were earlier asking for hearing in the matter.

The solicitor general said he has the list and these matters were mentioned for listing six times. 

The counsel said hearing was sought earlier because those days, exams were going to take place, and now they have to prepare the brief.

The apex court then came down heavily on some of the petitioners for seeking adjournment of hearing, saying it would not permit "this kind of forum shopping".

It observed that the petitioners in the matter had repeatedly sought early hearing and when these pleas have been listed, a letter has been circulated requesting for adjournment.

"This is not acceptable. You asked for early hearing time and again…Now, it is listed and you ask for this," said a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

"We will not permit forum shopping. That is all. Come tomorrow for arguments. We will hear you tomorrow," the bench said at the outset.

The Solicitor General, appearing for Karnataka, said a letter has been circulated in the matter.

"Can I make one request, if it appeals to your lordships. They are the petitioners. So, in view of the letter circulated, your lordships possibly consider not to pass any order adverse to them. Can your lordships consider issuing notice?" Mehta told the bench.

He said if notice is issued on these pleas, at least one stage would be over and arguments in the matter could be heard on the next date.

The bench issued notice to the state and other respondents on these pleas and posted them for hearing on September 5.

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