Published on: 22 December 2022 at 17:44 IST
The Delhi High Court recently refused to submit the PIL filed against the permission granted to Sikhs to carry ‘kirpans’ while travelling on civilian flights in India.
The matter was heard by the division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad stating that it is policy of the Government of India and the court has no power to interfere with it unless it is unlawful.
The plea was submitted by lawyer, who challenged a March 4, 2022 impugned notification issued by the Centre granting the exceptional regulatory sanction to Sikh passengers to carry kirpans having blade length of not more than six inches and total length of not more than nine inches.
The petitioner negates that he is not questioning the fundamental right granted under Article 25 – the right to profess and practice a religion. His only request is that committee of stakeholders examine the issue.
As for the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the counter affidavit was also presented as requested by the Court. However, the plaintiff is of view that the Bureau only followed the government policy blindly and not ‘apply its mind.’
According to the defense lawyer for the authorities, marshals have been stationed as part of the safety measures that have been put in place. On August 18, the court had declined to issue an interim order delaying the implementation of the ruling enabling Sikhs to travel on domestic flights with kirpans with blade lengths up to six inches.
According to the petition, allowing kirpans to travel on planes in their current size has “dangerous ramifications for aviation safety” and “if kirpans are deemed safe only because of religion, one wonders how knitting/crochet needles, coconuts, screwdrivers, and small pen knives, etc. are deemed hazardous and prohibited.”