New Delhi: In a significant judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Muslim personnel can't sport beard as long as they serve in armed forces.
The apex court passed its order while responding to a plea filed by a Muslim man in which he had sought directions to be allowed to keep his beard during service.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, which passed the order, added that regulations do not interfere with religious rights of individuals and that they have the sanctity of ensuring discipline.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, upheld the sacking of the petitioner - an Air Force official - for keeping long beard and said that armed forces’ regulations are meant to ensure discipline and uniformity.
Discharged from service, petitioner Ansari Aftab Ahmed had asserted sporting beard as a facet of his fundamental right to freedom of religion, and seek equality with Sikhs, who are allowed to sport unshorn hair and turban.
On his behalf, advocate Irshad Hanif had urged the apex court to fix a date of final hearing on a batch of petitions filed by the Muslim personnel, who were either been thrown out of service or faced disciplinary action for sporting beards.