The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the police not to harass any individual, particularly men, for growing long hair, or beard and wearing earrings. The apex court said that remanding people based on their appearances is against their personal freedom.
With this order the police will no longer have the right to arrest or harass or force men to cut their hair, facial hair and take off their earrings. The order was issued in response to a writ petition filed at SC by Law Students Society member Bikalpa Rajbhandari and advocate Subhas Lamichhane demanding the apex court implement its earlier verdict.
Earlier, a joint bench of the then Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha and Justice Om Prakash Mishra had issued an order that police must not treat any individual as suspects on the basis of their appearance or attire.
“No person should be arrested or harassed for growing hair or wearing earrings,” read the SC order, adding that, “The SC orders the police department to send a written circular to all of its offices to stop conducting activities like forcefully cutting an individual’s hair, taking off earrings which hurts the self-respect of those individuals.”
The writ was filed at the apex court against the police drive to arrest or harass men wearing long hair or earring, launched by then Metropolitan Police Circle Chief SSP Bikram Singh Thapa. The Home Ministry, Police Headquarters, Metropolitan Police Commissioners Office and Kathmandu Police Circle were named as defendant in the writ. The writ stated that the police had sent circular to its branch offices to conduct the ‘Chulte-Mundre’ operation.
The apex court in its verdict has stated that the police move is a gross violation of freedom to live with dignity adding that the security agency cannot limit the legal right that grants any individual to present themselves in a manner which does not affect the society in a negative manner.
Meanwhile, the police have denied charges of sending a written circular to conduct the ‘Chulte-Mundre’ operation. Likewise, the SC also said that the police failed to provide ample evidence to support their claims that men with long hair, facial hair or wearing earrings have a negative effect in the society.
The police in its defence had claimed that they were monitoring people with long hair, facial hair or who wears earrings to control the crimes in the metropolis.
However, the SC has said that arresting such individuals just on the basis of their looks and attire also violates the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution.