NEW DELHI: A beard is not acceptable for anyone in the Indian Air Force, no matter what religion, the Indian Supreme Court said, dismissing the petition of a Muslim officer who was sacked in 2008.

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur also said that the Centre's decision to ban beards in the Air Force does not infringe upon fundamental rights, Indian media reported. Mohammed Zubair and Ansari Aaftab Ahmed had moved court against a "confidential" order in 2003 banning beards.

Zubair had argued that the order was against his fundamental rights, but the court said regulations are meant for uniformity and discipline and have nothing to do with religious rights.

Zubair also said such a ban contradicted a 1990 letter of the home minister that allowed Muslim and Sikh personnel to keep their beard on religious grounds, provided they ask for permission.

During arguments in the case, the centre told the court that the air force is "undoubtedly a secular force with due regard for all religions and it is imperative that its personnel are guided by a sense of brotherhood without any distinction of caste, creed, colour or religion."