Do India’s women have the right to choose? 

The hijab row is now headed to a larger Supreme Court bench and all eyes will be on the Chief Justice of India. The composition of this bench will be crucial to determine what is at heart a simple question: Do India’s women have the right to choose?

Justice Shudhanshu Dhulia’s dissenting opinion trends towards this option (though, of course, karva chauth is not part of his remit). “It is a matter of choice, nothing more and nothing less,” he ruled. The thing which was uppermost in [my] mind was the education of girl child…. Are we making her life better?” (PTI)

By sheer coincidence, the Supreme Court’s (SC)’s split verdict on the contentious hijab row was delivered on karva chauth, the fourth day after the full moon, when Hindu women, mainly from North India, fast for their husband’s long life.

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