The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to urgently examine the legality of Muslim policemen and defence personnel sporting beards, The Indian Express reported.
"Application for an early hearing is rejected," a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said while refusing to urgently examine the issue of whether Muslim men in the forces "can assert sporting beard as a facet of their fundamental right to freedom of religion, and seek equality with Sikhs, who are allowed to sport unshorn hair and turban", states the report.
The IE report further states that the court took the decision "after advocate Irshad Hanif urged the court to fix a date of final hearing on a batch of petitions filed by the Muslim personnel, who had either been thrown out of service or faced disciplinary action for sporting beards."
Hanif said that his client Ansari Aaftab Ahmed had been given the sack by the Indian Air Force for sporting beard. Ansari told The Indian Express, "Perhaps the court wants the government to decide and that it why the case is getting protracted."