It’s just a beard. What’s the big deal? Justice Markandeya Katju sees the larger issues involved. If only we had a judge this far-seeing and courageous in the United States.
“SC rejects Muslim’s plea to sport beard, says no ‘Talibanisation of India,'” from the Times of India, March 30 (thanks to all who sent this in):
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 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….
Please move to the United States, Justice Katju!