Bar Association seeks 5 judges bench for Hijab issue, writes to Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit
All India Bar Association (AIBA) has requested Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit that the Hijab issue be referred to a larger bench of a minimum of five judges
NEW DELHI: The All India Bar Association (AIBA) has requested Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit that the Hijab issue be referred to a larger bench of a minimum of five judges including one Muslim judge in Supreme Court after split judgments on this issue by two judges today.
In a letter to CJI, Dr Adish C Aggarwala, Senior Advocate and Chairman of AIBA, has pointed out that the then Chief Justice NV Ramana has erred in constituting the bench which included Justice Hemant Gupta who was to retire on October 16, 2022, and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia who was recently appointed to Supreme Court on May 9, 2022. "I may point out that judges were not having a reasonable time to adjudicate the issue as it is evident from the fact that Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia's main thrust of his judgment is that the concept of 'essential religious practice' was not essential for the disposal of the dispute," said Aggarwala.
Senior Advocate Aggarwala further quoted the Supreme Court judgment stating, "Justice Dhulia said in his judgment that 'The court (High Court of Karnataka - added for clarification) probably took the wrong path. It was simply a question of Article 19(1)(a), its applicability and Article 25(1), primarily. And it's ultimately a matter of choice, nothing more or nothing less'."
He said that due to a shortage of time, it has been overlooked by Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia that Muslim students, in Karnataka High Court took the plea that the "Hijab is part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith".
"Justice Dhulia took a diametrically opposite view and struck down the High Court verdict. I was fully aware that the present Bench will be not in a position to adjudicate the issue due to shortage of time, I have not intervened in the matter in Supreme Court although I intervened before the High Court of Karnataka", said Dr Aggarwala, who was also Vice Chairman of Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association.
He further urged CJI to refer the matter to a larger bench of the Supreme Court.
"In the fairness of the matter, it is humbly prayed that the Hijab matter be referred to a larger bench of 5 senior Judges including one Muslim Judge in the Supreme Court as this issue is the most important matter for all citizens of India," he said.
He also suggested that while constituting the Bench, it should be advised to hold a day-to-day hearing.
"If Justice S Abdul Nazeer declines to be in the Bench, then CJI should mention this fact in the order constituting the larger bench to hear the Hijab matter. While constituting the Bench, the Bench be advised to hold a day-to-day hearing as Justice Nazeer is to retire on January 4, 2023. The world is watching the Supreme Court of India as it is a torch bearer in protecting India's democracy, states a press statement issued by AIBA. (ANI)