Christian school asked to admit beard-sporting Muslim student


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Friday suspended a Madhya Pradesh-based Christian school’s order expelling a Muslim student for sporting a beard.

Support TwoCircles

A bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi asked the unaided minority institution of one community to allow the schooling of the student from another minority community with it till a decision by the court on the boy’s lawsuit.

The bench ordered restoration of Mohammed Salim’s admission in the Nirmala Convent at Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh observing that the school’s act of expelling the student was prima facie “ridiculous”.

“So you have been dismissed merely because you have a beard,” the bench asked Salim’s counsel B.A. Khan and added, “So no Sikh student can sport a beard?

“Tomorrow they may say no to admission if you are not fair complexioned,” said the bench, adding “it’s ridiculous.”

The bench also issued notice to school authorities and the state government on Salim’s lawsuit, which sought scrapping of his school’s anti-beards rule contending that it impinges upon his religious faith.

Salim’s lawsuit has a chequered history at the apex court. Earlier it had been dismissed March 30 this year with another apex court bench making a remark that Muslim students cannot insist on sporting beards as it would lead to ‘Talibanisation’ of the country.

Facing criticism from Muslim groups, Justice Markandeya Katju later apologised for the remark and had recalled his order dismissing Salim’s lawsuit.

While tendering the apology July 5, he had referred the lawsuit to Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan’s bench, saying that the matter should be heard by another bench.

Accordingly, the matter was heard Friday by a bench of Justice Agrawal.