HC upholds Sikh’s right to carry kirpan

Chandigarh: Taking up a petition filed by an Amritdhari (baptized) Sikh, whose statement was not recorded by the Ambala sessions judge in a murder trial because he had refused to remove ‘kirpan’ in the courtroom, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday issued notice to the Haryana home secretary.

Justice Augustine George Masih has issued the notice after taking cognizance of a petition filed by Dilawar Singh of Kainth Majri village in Ambala district. The case has been fixed for May 12 for further hearing.

According to the petitioner he was an important witness in a murder case registered at the Ambala City police station in December last year.

He stated that the trial of the case was pending before the sessions court in Ambala and when he went to the court of sessions judge Deepak Gupta for recording his statement on April 18, the judge objected to his ‘kirpan’ and directed him to remove the same.

The petitioner further stated that when he refused to remove the ‘kirpan’ citing religious freedom, the sessions judge refused to record his statement and directed him to appear in the court without the ‘kirpan’ .

The petitioner has also sought directions from the HC to quash the April 18 orders passed by Ambala sessions judge.

“The order is illegal and ultra vires to Article 25 of the Constitution and infringes the religion freedom granted to him in the Constitution,” he argued.

In support of his claim, the petitioner has also cited various judgments of different courts in which rights of the Sikhs to carry ‘kirpan’ had been upheld as a fundamental right.

Hearing his plea, the HC directed the Haryana home secretary to file a reply on the contentions raised by the petitioner.

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