On question of beard, Muslim cop moves SC
Admitting a petition by a Maharashtra policeman, posted with the SRPF command, a Bench led by Justice P Sathasivam issued notices to the Centre and the state government, seeking their responses within four weeks.
The court also stayed disciplinary proceedings, initiated around six months ago, against constable Zahiroddin Shamsoddin Bedade, who is the petitioner, for refusing to shave his beard. “We can see there are some judgments by the High Courts against letting them keep beards while some others have allowed it. This is also due to different rules existing in different states,” said the Bench as it perused a few court orders.
Senior advocate Anoop G Chaudhari told the Bench that a central government rule allowed Muslims to keep beard. “However, different norms by the state governments were leading to perplexity. Moreover, the SC has in past dealt with appeals from different High Courts but it is yet to pass an authoritative verdict if Muslims can sport beard or not,” he said.
The petition, filed through advocate Shakil Ahmad Syed, claimed that it was a “religious discrimination” since Sikh personnel were allowed to sport beard and long hair as a religious practice but Muslims were being denied the same. The plea said such a restriction interfered with a person’s right under Article 25 ( Freedom of conscience and free
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