Delhi High Court permits Sikh candidates to carry 'kara', 'kirpan' during government exams

Decision was made after hearing petition that was initiated by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

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The Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) on Friday informed the Division bench of the Delhi High Court that it has issued revised guidelines that allow Sikh candidates who want to appear in the examination while wearing kara and/or kirpan.

DSSSB also informed that it has decided to allow Sikh candidates to appear in examinations with kara (matelic bangle) or kirpan subject to them arriving at the examination centre at least one hour prior to the reporting time. However, the board also apprised the bench that if during the screening any candidate is found carrying objectionable/suspicious article, he or she will not be permitted to sit in the concerned examination.

After taking note of the submissions made by DSSSB, the Bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chander Sharma also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad devised to dispose of the matter. The Division bench was hearing the petition initiated by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

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The court while deciding to dispose of the case also notes that if the candidate fails to appear less than 1 hour prior to reporting time, Kara/kirpan cannot be allowed inside the exam hall.Earlier in July months of this year, the Single bench of Justice Rekha Palli had said that, it is expected that not only the DSSSB but all other recruiting agencies who conduct similar examinations will take appropriate steps in this regard well before the conduct of the examinations.

The Court was dealing with a plea challenging the denial of entry to a Sikh woman, for an exam being conducted by DSSSB, for the reason of her wearing a kara.The DSGMC earlier also wrote a letter to Union Government and Delhi Government in this regards and stated, "Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion to all but it is often violated. In many instances, it has come to our notice that students wearing 'Kirpans' and 'Karas' were not permitted to sit inside the examination hall and were asked by authorities to remove them." 

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