New Delhi, April 14: Zahiroddin Shamsoddin Bedade, a Muslim police constable under suspension for five years for not adhering to Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force's no-beard policy, rejected the Supreme Court's offer on Friday to join the duty if he agrees to keep the beard only during the religious periods.
According to reports, Bedade was appointed as a constable in SRPF on January 16, 2008. While he was on duty in Jalna in February 2012, he applied to the commandant to keep his beard which was accepted. But later that year in May the permission was withdrawn after the amended guidelines on beards issued by the Maharashtra home department.
Bedade moved to the Bombay high court challenging the withdrawal of permission. In December 2102, The high court suggested that he can keep the beard only during religious events.
After the constable learned that the court had given the statement in favour of the state government, he filed a petition in the apex court against the high court in January 2013. The constable's petition was pending since 2013 until on Thursday, top court Judges Chief Justice J S Khekar and Justice D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul after hearing the petition, said that they felt bad for the constable and suggested that he should not remain out of work.
The apex court offered that he can join the duty if he is willing to remove the beard as per Maharashtra home department rules but can grow it during the religious periods. Bedade in his petition had stated that a citizen is free to practice his religion and the SRPF cannot intervene to violate his fundamental rights.