Supreme Court rules in favour of IAF – no beards

On Thursday, December 15 the Supreme Court ruled that disallowing Air Force personnel from wearing long beards did not “interfere” with freedom of religion.

Upholding the removal of an Air Force man for keeping a beard, the court said that the rules of the armed forces called for discipline and uniformity.

The bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur quashed the petition of one Ansari Aftab Ahmed who was earlier discharged from service in 2008. His petition spoke about his fundamental right to freedom of religion – seeking equality with Sikhs who have been allowed to sport unshorn hair and a turban.

The centre’s decision to prevent personnel of a certain community from sporting a beard does not violate fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution.

The second petition filed by Mohammed Zubair questioned the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) decision to prohibit Muslim personnel from sporting a beard.

The Centre also said that the order was in the interest of unifying the combat force while another reason was purely security related. The IAF is a secular force and has due respect for all religions – the forces follow a sense of kinship and do not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed colour or religion.

SOURCES: The Indian Express, India Today

Image Source: The Hindu

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