Those who believe in India’s secular credentials must find a true hero in Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, who has time and again stood up for safeguarding the country’s secular character. Justice Katju has often taken a stance against fundamentalism of all religions and not only did he strongly condemn the Gujarat riots against the minority community – terming them as a disgrace to the country – but also took Orissa government to task for failing to protect minorities during the recent riots. Katju is also well-regarded for his love of Urdu and is one of the biggest known supporters of the language.
Now, his recent judgment in rejection of a petition by a student of a convent school in Madhya Pradesh – who was pleading against his school’s regulation that all students should be clean shaven – must be welcomed as a step in the right direction. The student made a case to be allowed to sport a beard. In return, Justice Katju spoke up for preventing Talibanization of the country.
A school, or any institution for this matter is free to have its own regulations and it is incumbent upon all its members to ascribe to such regulations. Personal faith is indeed personal and it should not be mixed up with such regulations.