The Haryana government on Wednesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it is of the view that kirpan should be considered as an ornament relating to the religion of Sikhs and there should be no restriction on wearing kirpan by Sikhs while appearing in the court. However, conditions with regard to the size and length of kirpan could be imposed.
Subhash Goel, secretary, home, Haryana told the court that Sikhs can be allowed to wear and carry one kirpan as being part of their religion and religious practice as it is protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.
The government's reply came in response to a petition, wherein an Amritdhari Sikh who had challenged a decision of Ambala court whereby he was asked to remove his kirpan while recording his statement in the court in May.
Citing examples of other countries, the government told the court that in a 2006 judgment in Canada, it was held that banning of kirpan in a school environment is against Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Sikhs are allowed to carry kirpan inside courtrooms in Toronto, Alberta as well as the Canadian Parliament. Vide 1997 judgment in US as well, kirpan was declared as a religious symbol and in no way a weapon. As of UK, the Criminal Justice Act and Religious Discrimination Act of 2003 safeguards the Sikhs to carry a kirpan, the court was told.
"State is of the view that kirpan should be considered as an ornament relating to the religion of Sikhs and there should be no restriction on wearing kirpan by Sikhs while appearing in the court, subject to certain restrictions of size/length," the government said, asking the court to take a final decision on the issue.
The petitioner, Dilawar Singh, had moved the high court against the order of the Ambala sessions judge in May, arguing that the order was in violation of his religious freedom. The high court has stayed proceedings in the case in which Dilawar Singh was to depose as witness.