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'Go to high court', SC on plea against permission given to Sikhs to carry kirpan in domestic flights

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a PIL by Hindu Sena challenging the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security's decision to allow Sikh passengers to carry kirpan on domestic flights.

A bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and J.K. Maheshwari told the petitioner organisation to move the concerned high court. "You go to the High Court. Dismissed, with liberty to approach the High Court", said the bench.

The petition was filed by an organisation named Hindu Sena challenging the exemption granted to the Sikh community by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

The petitioner challenged the order issued by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security on March 4, 2022 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 plea said: "The liberty granted to the Sikh passengers/ employees/ stakeholders vide the said order appears to be absolute without any consideration for the safety and security of the fellow passengers and employees as stated order does not provide any provision to ascertain that whether the person carrying kirpan in the high security areas like airport and aircraft is an actual Sikh or an imposter with intention to misuse the above liberty."

The plea contended that the freedom given to Sikh passengers is arbitrary and violation of Article 14 and Article 15 with respect to the discrimination made on the basis of religion, as any non-Sikh person is not allowed to carry any object that could be potential threat to the co-passengers.

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