Sikh Continues Fight to Wear Turban in Driver�s License Photo

December 10, 2005

Source: Khaleej Times

Wire Service: AP

On December 10, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "A Sikh who won the right to wear his turban in his drivers license identity photo only to see that right withdrawn a day later will pursue his battle to find out if 'one can be both Sikh and French,' a spokesman for the Sikh community said.

The Council of State, France’s highest administrative body, ruled Monday that Shingara Mann Singh, a French citizen, can wear his turban in a drivers license photo because a ban on covering the head in official photos came from the wrong ministry - the Interior Ministry.

That decision was annulled, with the Council of State ruling that the Interior Ministry - which banned head coverings on official identity photos - did not have the right to decide an issue concerning the Transport Ministry... The following day, the Transport Ministry changed its order, specifically saying that the Interior Ministry ban was applicable on drivers licenses. The move meant that Singh, once more, could not receive his license as long as he wore a turban in the photo.

Singh’s lawyer, Patrice Spinosi, said Friday that he would take the case back to the Council of State to verify that such a maneuver is legal. If Singh loses, the lawyer said he would go to other tribunals - the European Court of European Rights if need be - to ensure that fundamental rights such as freedom of religion and nondiscrimination were being respected."