Muslim Police Officer Knocks HC Door Seeking Permission To Grow Beard [Read Petition]

Muslim Police Officer Knocks HC Door Seeking Permission To Grow Beard [Read Petition]

Almost two months after an Armed Forces Tribunal bench in Kochi upheld the dismissal of a Muslim jawan from service after he insisted on growing beard on religious grounds, a Muslim civil police officer has knocked the doors of the Kerala High Court with a similar petition.

The Kerala Police officer has filed a writ petition (civil) before the High Court seeking a declaration granting him permission to grow beard as part of his religious custom.

In the petition, he stated that he had earlier sought permission from the state police chief to grow his beard; however, that plea was rejected.

Citing various religious text and tenets, the petitioner contended before the court that growing beard was part of the basic religious belief system of a person belonging to the Islamic religion. He argued: “Islam means submission to the Will of Allah, and a Muslim is one who submits his will to the Will of Allah. It is a religion prescribing a way of life to reach out to his creator who created this universe and sustains it for a term determined. Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. - 3:185. Growing of beard is therefore an essential and obligatory act of every Muslim lest he would invite the wrath of Almighty Allah and His messenger Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). It is submitted that there is false notion that spotting beard is not a religious duty and that all Muslims do not keep beard.”

The petitioner further supported his contention, citing the absence of a rule or regulation that prohibits the growing of beard by a member of the police force.

Regarding the maintenance of discipline of uniform standards for the state police machinery over personal religious beliefs, he stated: “The right of a citizen to practice his religion is not lost by being an employee in the service of the government. Denial of such rights to service personnel will be at the cost of offending his human rights and the right guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. There is no law that mandates police personnel to shed his religious identity. Petitioner is denied permission to spot beard despite his right to believe and practice Islam, which is protected under the Constitution.”

It was argued by the petitioner that the refusal of the state government and the state police chief in granting him the right to grow beard was “illegal, arbitrary and violative” of Articles 14, 15, 19 (1) (a), and 25 of the Constitution.

A regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in Kochi, presided by Justice S.S. Satheesa Chandran, had recently upheld the dismissal of a Muslim sepoy for growing his beard , holding that the same did not form an integral part of his religion. You may read the Live Law story in this context here.

Read the petition here.