The Delhi High Court on Thursday permitted Sikh medical aspirants to carry a kirpan and wear a kara for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), which is scheduled for May 6,  opining that CBSE’s “lack of accommodation for Sikh candidates is unjustified”.
The Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice A.K. Chawla however directed such students to report an hour earlier for the entrance test for proper screening, noting, “If upon screening it is discovered that any candidate is actually carrying, within the kara or kirpan, a suspect device, he may be asked not to take it in the examination hall.”
The Court was hearing several Petitions, including one filed by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, challenging the restrictions imposed on candidates precluding them from wearing the kara and the kirpan, which are mandatory for all those who profess the Sikh religion.
CBSE, on the other hand, had submitted that the decision was taken in view of past instances of use of unfair means. It had therefore submitted that the ban was in view of “larger public interest”, and had asserted that the restrictions placed on entry of articles of faith cannot be objected to.
The Court, however, noted that there exists no law per se which bans karas or kirpans in the examination hall. It further took note of the fact that karas and kirpans are allowed even in highly restricted areas such as aircrafts and several other public places. It then ruled,
“Obviously, even in those places too the issue of public order or the possible threat of secondary use of such articles would be there; at the same time, the authorities have to ensure the provision of the Constitution is the rule rather than otherwise. In the absence of any objective facts indicative, or suggestive of, real threat of use of unfair means by those wearing karas and kirpans, the blanket ban on metallic objects would not be justified.”