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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

SC not against beards for Muslims

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and Justice B N Krishna held that a Muslim couldn’t be dismissed from the Army for keeping a beard. The judgment was delivered on the appeal of Haidar Ali of Assam Rifles. Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind provided financial support in the long drawn legal battle. 

A M Shekhar, Commandant, 6 Assam Rifles removed Haidar Ali from the service of Assam Rifles for keeping beard on April 5, 1997. He represented against the order to Former Defence Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Chairman National Minorities Commission, Defence Minister, George Fernandes and former Home Minister Late Inderjit Gupta, but without any positive result. Frustrated, he approached Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind for help and support. Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind decided to support him in the legal battle by providing legal and financial assistance. A Case was filed before the Delhi High Court vide CWP No.22283 / 1999. On December 20, 2002 Delhi High Court decided that Haidar Ali be reinstated in service with effect from April 5, 1997 and all arrears of pay and allowances for the period be paid and all benefits of employment be restored to him. However Assam Rifles did not abide by the SC order. Maulana Mahmood Madani held the judgment as historic as likely to have far reaching impact.

Saeed Suhrawardy

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