By Muslim Mirror Staff
The Allahabad High Court has refused to let a suspended Muslim police officer keep his beard while on duty, claiming that it is against official rules and that he is not entitled to protection under Article 25 of the Constitution.
On a writ petition filed by police constable Mohd Farman, who was suspended in November last year for refusing to shave his beard despite being directed to do so, the Lucknow Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan issued the judgement.
On October 26, 2020, the state DGP issued a directive forbidding police officers from growing beards.
The constable had appealed his suspension to the court, arguing that he should be allowed to wear his beard under Article 25, which deals with religious freedom.
The HC Bench said that not shaving a beard despite orders from higher officials is a violation of the Director General of Police’s circular, and as such is not just incorrect behaviour but also a misdemeanour, misdeed, and delinquency on the part of the cop.
Noting that members of the disciplined forces may not be protected by article 25, the bench said, “This is a domain of competent authority to issue guidelines in respect of wearing proper uniform and keeping the appearance in a manner required for the members of a disciplined force and no interference should be done.”
Rejecting the argument that growing a beard is a fundamental right of the petitioner, the Bench stated that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution does not give absolute authority in the matter.
All rights have to be viewed in the context and letter and spirit in which they have been framed under the Constitution. As a matter of fact rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India have inbuilt restrictions,” it said.
Rejecting the petition on August 12, the bench directed the relevant agencies to conduct and conclude the department’s investigation against the petitioner in accordance with the law.