A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Delhi High Court’s order allowing Sikhs to carry ‘kirpans’ on domestic flights was withdrawn on Monday.
During the hearing before the bench comprising Justices Satish Chander Mishra and Subramonium Prasad, the petitioner submitted that he is withdrawing the plea because of ‘some pressure’, and accordingly the court allowed the plea to be withdrawn.
The plea moved through advocate Harsh Vibhore Singhal challenged the DGCA notification issued on March 4 which stated that ‘kirpan’ may be carried by only by a Sikh passenger in domestic flights provided the length of its blade does not exceed 15.24 cms (6 inches) and the total length does not exceed 22.86 cms (9 inches).
” …the exception is not just for Indian citizens. Impugned Notifications do not distinguish applicability to Sikh Indian citizens, and Sikhs from other nations can carry kirpans whilst travelling in any Indian plane on domestic routes in India, though laws of their respective countries may prohibit carrying of kirpans in civilian flights there,” the plea read.”
…if the State obsequiously acquiesces to demands for carriage of Kirpan on person in flights in India to preserve its religious prescription and sanctity, what happens to such prescriptive sanctity in nations where carriage is barred by aviation policy? Does the faith get desecrcrated if a Kirpan is necessarily packed and carried only in checked in baggage? How does the religious faith get sanctified by carriage on person in flights in India and nevertheless gets sanctified by the carriage in checked-in baggage in other countries?,” it read further.
“…the State cannot disregard need for vigilance by allowing unrestricted and unrestrained on person carriage of Kirpans on an unstated but facile and fatuous presumption having no factual basis that carriage does not pose or exacerbate risks to civilian flights. Recorded history expresses concern,” the plea added.
Recently, the Supreme Court declined to entertain another similar PIL by Hindu Sena challenging the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s decision to allow Sikh passengers to carry ‘kirpan’ on domestic flights.