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Delhi: High court dismisses plea against allowing kirpans on flights

by The Canadian Parvasi

Centre Court Developments

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea opposing the policy allowing Sikh passengers to carry kirpans having a blade length of no more than six inches and a total length of no more than nine inches.

The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by lawyer Harsh Vibhore Singhal challenging the government’s decision to allow Sikh passengers to carry kirpans on commercial flights.

The centre, in a notification issued on March 4, permitted Sikh flyers to carry kirpans with a blade length of no more than six inches.

Previously, on December 15, the Delhi HC reserved its order on the aforementioned plea.

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A bench comprising of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad stated, “How can we interfere with such a policy decision? We can’t interfere. It is a policy decision of the Government of India.”

“Your mind might not be the government’s mind. Therefore when the government has applied its mind and has come with a policy, we ought not to interfere unless it is so arbitrary,” the court asserted further.

“Dismissed,” the division bench pronounced the order.

Present before the court, the plaintiff stated, “I admit that Article 25 allows the carriage of a kirpan. But when you are flying, the regulator must apply its mind. I want a constitution of a committee of stakeholders to examine the issue. If the committee feels that the notification is good, so be it. Not a problem.” Singhal stressed that he was “not questioning” the rights of Sikhs but just wanted authorities to examine the issue.

In representation of the respondents, Lawyer Anjana Gosain stated, “Safety measures, including stationing of marshals, have been put in place by the authorities.”



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