He also added that the government has left the choice to institutions on what uniform they want to prescribe. The advocate general has further pointed out that the petitioners should have framed this issue not as a denial of a “religious symbol” but as a denial of a “head scarf”.

The government has also said that the burden is on the petitioners to show why the hijab is an essential religious practice. As part of its arguments, the government drew attention to instances where the court held certain Islamic practices to not be essential – such as cow slaughter, triple talaq and praying at a mosque.

Earlier, lawyers like Gautam Bhatia had also pointed out that framing the hijab as an essential religious practice takes away the individual agency of the woman to decide if they wish to wear the hijab. Rather, arguments along the lines of freedom of speech, right to privacy and freedom of conscience would respect individual agency better in this case.