New Delhi (The Hawk): On Thursday, the Delhi High Court rejected an appeal challenging the Indian government's decision to allow Sikhs to travel with kirpans on civilian flights.
The Center's March 4 notification allowing Sikh passengers to carry kirpans with a blade length of no more than six inches and a total length of no more than nine inches while travelling anywhere in India was challenged in the complaint, which was submitted in the form of a public interest litigation (PIL) by attorney Harsh Vibhore Singhal.
The HC reserved its decision regarding the plea on December 15.
Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad's division bench had previously stated: "How are we going to change such a policy choice? We can't become involved. The Indian government has decided to pursue it as a policy."
The petitioner had argued that a committee of interested parties should be established to consider the problem.
The court had then stated: "The government's thinking may not be the same as yours. We shouldn't meddle when the government has used its judgement to develop a policy, unless it is completely arbitrary."
Additionally, because certain parties' applications were not on file, the court had declined to consider their submissions.
The plaintiff had stated that he was not contesting the rights of Sikhs but was merely asking the parties involved to look into the matter.
He'd stated: "I agree that carrying a kirpan is permitted by Article 25. However, the regulator must use their judgement when you are flying. I want a committee made up of interested parties to study the problem. So be it if the committee decides the notification is appropriate. Not an issue."
He defended his position by stating that the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security was only implementing the government's instructions rather than formulating the policy.
Anjana Gosain, an advocate for the respondents, stated that safety precautions, such as the stationing of marshals, had been taken by the authorities.
On August 18, the court had declined to issue a temporary order delaying the implementation of the ruling permitting Sikhs to travel with kirpans with blades up to six inches long.
(Inputs from Agencies)