High Court judge Margaret Mohammed has granted a stay against the Prisons Service, preventing them from taking disciplinary action against prisons officer Arshad Singh.
Singh, through his attorney Imran Khan, filed two matters against the Prisons Service: a judicial review matter concerning the failure to promote him as due and a constitutional motion challenging the validity and unconstitutionality of the Prison Service Order which prohibits the wearing of a beard.
Justice Mohammed ruled no disciplinary action could be taken until the hearing and determination of this action or until further order.
Despite the case still being heard in the high court, the Prisons Service moved to take disciplinary action against him.
On February 2, the Commissioner of Prisons brought a case of misconduct against Singh, saying he was disobedient.
“That you, Prison Officer II Arshad Singh on October 10, 2022 around 1.25 pm were disobedient to orders when you reported to the Port-of-Spain Prison as per temporary assignment and was observed to be unshaven by Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (acting) Nigel Thomas. Contrary to Regulation 20(2)(c) of the Prison Service (Code of Conduct) Regulation 1990 and General Order #104 of 2006 (11),” the disciplinary letter read.
Singh claimed the “proposed disciplinary proceedings were commenced as a result of the Claimant wearing his beard pursuant to his religious belief and observance and conscience as a devout Muslim.”
Attorney Khan said they had hoped the Prisons Service would have awaited the outcome of the court proceedings before taking any action.