SC Issues Notice To Centre On Plea To Exempt Turbaned Sikhs From Wearing Other Headgear In Sports Events
A Supreme Court bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswar Rao has issued a notice to the Centre and sought its reply on a public interest litigation seeking direction to formulate guidelines exempting turbaned Sikhs from wearing any headgear during sports events.
Appearing for petitioner Jagdeep Singh Puri, a Delhi resident, Senior Advocate RS Suri submitted that wearing a turban is an essential part of Sikh religion and Sikh rights have to be protected.
Even the Motor Vehicle Act exempts Sikhs from wearing a helmet. The government should frame guidelines in the regard, he argued.
In the plea, the petitioner submitted that he was disqualified for a cycling event after he had refused to wear a helmet instead of a turban.
The cycling event was organised by Audax India Randonneurs (AIR) in 2015. Wearing a turban is part of his religious faith, he also said.
According to the petition, “he tried to put forward the enlightened view on the significance of the turban to a Sikh; it fell on deaf ears. However, despite being utterly discriminated against, the petitioner still decided to join the ride unofficially, in the spirit of sportsmanship, even if discriminated by the organizers. The petitioner completed the entire event at his own risk without any support from the organizers”.
He prayed that this court may indulge, directing Parliament to enact legislation on this issue and order the Central government to frame guidelines for such situations.
- Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ(s), order(s), direction(s) of like nature directing the respondents to enact a law regarding protection of fundamental rights of the persons belonging to the turbaned Sikh community who participate in such social/ sports events;
- Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ(s), order(s), direction(s) directing the respondents to provide guidelines for all entities not amenable to writ jurisdiction but organize social/sport events in violation of fundamental rights belonging to the turbaned Sikh community who participate in such social/sport events by forcing them to wear headgear.