SC rejects Muslim’s plea to sport beard, says no ‘Talibanisation of India’ – The Times of India

 

After the old Shahbano case, Supreme Court has given a very far-reaching and controversial judgment on Indian Muslims’s fundamental constitutional right to practice their religion as they deem it fit. Supreme Court has tried to arbitrarily superimpose Talibanism on Indian Islam. That will never be acceptable to Indian Muslims. The judgment should be reviewed and corrected.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
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SC rejects Muslim’s plea to sport beard, says no ‘Talibanisation of India’

30 Mar 2009, 2302 hrs IST, PTI
 
 
NEW DELHI: Rejecting the plea of a Muslim student that he should be permitted to sport beard in his convent school, the Supreme Court on Monday 

 

observed secularism cannot be overstretched and that “Talibanisation” of the country cannot be permitted. 

“We don’t want to have talibans in the country. Tommorow a girl student may come and say that she wants to wear a burqa, can we allow it,” Justice Markandeya Katju speaking for a bench headed by Justice Raveendran observed. 

Asserting that he was a secularist to the core, Justice Katju however said religious beliefs cannot be overstretched. 

“I am secularist. We should strike a balance between rights and personal beliefs. We cannot overstretch secularism,” the judge known for his incisive remarks said. 

Justice Katju passed the obsesrvation while dismsissing the petition of the student. Mohammad Salim of Nirmala Convent Higher Secondary School, a government-recognised minority institution in Madhya Pradesh, has sought quashing of the school regulation requiring students to be clean-shaven. 

Challenging a Madhya Pradesh High Court verdict that had earlier dismissed his plea, Salim submitted that every citizen was entitled to follow his religious principles and that no one should restrain him from doing so in a secular country like India. 

Salim’s counsel Justice (retd) B A Khan argued before the bench that sporting beard was an indispensable part of Islam. 

But Justice Katju was apparently not impressed with the argument and quipped “But you (Khan) don’t sport a beard?” the judge asked the counsel. 

The apex court then said that a minority institution has its own set of rules and rights provided by Article 30 of the Constitution and the same cannot be breached by any person. 

“If there are rules you have to be. You can’t say that I will not wear a uniform I will only a burqa,” the bench observed. 

The court further said if the student was not interested in following the rules then he has the option of joining some other institution. 

“You can join some other institution if you do not want to observe the rules. But you can’t ask the school to change the rules for you,”Justice Katju observed. 

Appearing for the student, senior advocate B A Khan said that Article 25 of the Constitution guaranteed protection to Salim to pursue his religious practice of keeping a beard and the regulation providing for shaving it off was violative of this provision. 

He said the act of the principal to force the student to leave the school for keeping a beard was against “his religious conscience, belief and custom of his family”. 

Pointing out that Sikh community members were allowed to keep a beard and sport a turban, Salim alleged there was a clear discrimination on part of the school to force him to be clean shaven and this rule was violative of his fundamental rights.

 
 

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6 Responses to “SC rejects Muslim’s plea to sport beard, says no ‘Talibanisation of India’ – The Times of India”

  1. janamejayan Says:

    Quote: “That will never be acceptable to Indian Muslims. The judgment should be reviewed and corrected.”

    Pray tell me how would it be corrected? What are the chances of it getting corrected? What happens if not corrected?

    • ghulammuhammed Says:

      The usual way to review and correct a Supreme court judgment is to refer the matter to a bigger bench. Judiciary is not the place to attempt new legislation — like banning the beard. The alternative to Muslims is to go to people and organise protests against the Government that is keeping mum, while faced with an election in which Muslim votes do count.

    • ghulammuhammed Says:

      The usual course to set right a Supreme Court judgment, is to go for a bigger bench. In a worst case senario, if the court persists in stepping in legislative field and not willing to let the parliament and executive to deliberate on the matter, the agrieved could start public protests. It is surprising that Congress is mum on the matter, while elections are just two weeks away and a backlash by Muslim protest could damage Congress ability to win hearts and minds of Muslim voters. Congress must intervene and register its stance on the matter and avoid any large scale Muslim protest all around the nation.

  2. vikraman Says:

    Hi Ghulam,
    I liked the emotion in your posts. Yours arguments are logical and are backed by facts. However I differ from your view in this case, SC has never been biased towards any religion. It was the supreme court which banned the bull fight in this country (which was considered part of hindu culture). In, Rev.stanislaus V state of madhya pradesh, it clearly pointed out that christians in this country do not have the right to convert a person to christianity although the bible says it is the duty of every christian to do so.

    The SC court has always been the guardian of the minority interests in the country. It was the SC which appointed the SIT (Special investigation team) to probe into the Gujarat Communal riots 2002. Recently a couple of ministers have resigned and the investigations are going on.

    In this particular case however i buy your argument, i don’t see how having a beard or wearing a burkha is going to affect anyone. But judiciaries around the world have been saying the same thing. for example, head scarves were banned in france, turbans were banned in Britain. All these countries have been known to be secularists. Therefore, this isolated incident should not make you think that indian judiciary is anti-minority. That will be an erroneous conclusion.

    • ghulammuhammed Says:

      I hope our august Supreme Court judges are so naive as to not grasp the fact that the western propaganda against Islam is something that should concern India. Why bring others war into our front room.

    • ghulammuhammed Says:

      You wrote: But judiciaries around the world have been saying the same thing. for example, head scarves were banned in france, turbans were banned in Britain. All these countries have been known to be secularists. Therefore, this isolated incident should not make you think that indian judiciary is anti-minority. That will be an erroneous conclusion.

      Why should we suppose that our judiciary is naive enough to be making its mind on the basis of the propaganda laden wave of anti-Muslim harangues from the west. Do we are devoid of our independent judgment. How can a Muslim beard on an Indian, automatically makes a Taliban? Is this not a most outlandish conjecture. Is it not fraught with prejudicial rational, if any. Is this not a case of collective punishment for a ‘crime’ committed by others in other countries. I have yet to come across with such irresponsible and unjustified judgement from a judge and that too of the highest court of the land.

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