The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Union government and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security to respond to a petition challenging the recent notifications that allow Sikh passengers to carry kirpans of specific measurement on person in domestic flights.
While refusing to pass any interim stay on the notification issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad listed the matter for hearing in December.
In the petition filed by lawyer Harsh Vibhore Singhal, it has been argued that the permission to carry kirpan in flights has “mauled civil aviation safety protocols & international conventions” and callously brushed aside “safety and security concerns especially in the face of historical lessons in aviation hijackings”.
“In alacrity to satiate demands of a particular religion, 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,” reads the plea.
The petition also seeks the constitution of an empowered working committee to examine pragmatic solutions to ensure sanctity of religious expression of carrying kirpans in public, and at the same time prevention of its misuse in flights.
The petition alleges that a kirpan “remains a blade used in hundreds of homicides” and can cause havoc in the skies by reducing the aviation safety to a nullity. Singhal further argued that while carrying and wearing of kirpans has retained a religious symbolism, any liberal policy for carriage and “latent use” of kirpans has added an “undeniable dangerous” dimension to the question of social and national security.