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Press Release: Thursday, 2nd March 2006, 19th Phalgun (Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)
Paris – The French Supreme Court will consider today if UNITED SIKHS and Shingara Mann Singh should be allowed to challenge a government circular against the ban on wearing a Turban for a driver’s licence photo.
Counsel for UNITED SIKHS and Shingara Singh, Mr Patrice Spinosi, will argue before the Supreme Court that the French Transport Ministry had no authority to issue a circular on 6th December 2005, a day after the Supreme Court had ruled that there was no law that required Shingara Singh to remove his turban for his driver’s licence photograph. Mr Spinosi will also argue that the Circular discriminates against Sikhs as an ethnic group as the Turban does not hamper the identification of a Sikh but instead denies a Sikh a Right to a Private Life and Right to Manifest his/her religion as provided by the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Our counsel will argue that the Sikhs in France are members of an ethnic group as defined by the European Court of Human Rights two months ago in a case called Timishev. This definition mirrors the definition of Sikhs in the UK as an ethnic group,” said UNITED SIKHS director, Mejindarpal Kaur.
In December 2004, France passed a law, implementing a European anti- discrimination Directive, which forbids any discrimination in the provision of public services and social advantage on grounds of a person’s ethnicity.
“Every French Sikh has an equal right to a driver’s licence and he/she should not have to forgo his/her right to private life and right to practise his/her religion,” Mejindarpal Kaur added.
In December last year, the Supreme Court had declared that there was no law which required a Sikh to remove his turban for his driver’s licence photograph. The Court had ordered the Transport Ministry to issue a driver’s licence to Mr Shingara Singh within a month. In response to the Court’s judgment, the Transport Ministry issued a Circular the next day saying that henceforth all applicants should bare their heads for their driver’s licence photographs. In response, UNITED SIKHS and Shingara Singh Mann filed a notice in the Supreme Court to challenge the Circular.
To read a previous Press Releases on this case see:
Right To Turban Team
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