The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to transfer petitions in the hijab controversy to itself, saying the Karnataka High Court should be allowed to hear them first and decide. “Please wait. Let the high court hear it. It’s too early to interfere for us…Wait for one or two days”, Chief Justice N V Ramana said when senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the court a petition seeking transfer of the petitions had been filed. Justice Ramana then asked him if he wanted the petitions to be transferred. “Yes, we have filed a petition today,” he replied. Sibal requested the matter be transferred to the apex court’s nine-judge bench looking into questions of law arising from the court’s 2018 Sabarimala verdict. But Justice Ramana pointed out that the matter was being heard by a three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Thursday afternoon and said it should be given time. When Sibal urged the court to simply list the transfer petition, filed by a student, the chief justice said, “The problem is now if we list the matter, the high court will never hear it”.
“You can say you don’t mind the high court hearing…Problem is, schools and colleges are closed. Girls are being stoned. It’s spreading across the country,” Sibal said. Justice Ramana then clarified, “We are not saying anything about merits. The high court is hearing…Give them time. Yesterday they referred [the matter] to [a larger bench] and now you are mentioning to transfer [it]. It does not look nice.”Sibal pleaded that the matter be simply listed and no order be passed. “Please just list [it]. I am not asking for an order. If the high court does not do anything, you can then transfer.” The CJI then said, “Alright, we will see.”