Court Upholds Right of Sikh Attorney to Wear Turban While Visiting Client

February 21, 2003

Source: India Abroad

On February 21, 2003 the reported that "the Federal Bureau of Prisons has upheld the right of attorney Ravinder Singh Bhalla, as a Sikh, to wear his turban while visiting his client. He would not be subjected to a search of his turban as he enters the jail. 'What I asked [from the prison authorities] wasn't anything not sanctioned by the American Constitution,' he said. 'I wanted the freedom to practice my religion like any other American.' He also added that he is not against searching a turban if the authorities had reasonable reason to believe that a person was or could engage in a criminal activity... Bhalla... was backed in his fight by the Sikh Coalition which was founded soon after September 11, 2001, when many Sikhs feared they could be discriminated against."