Sikh Turbans Ruled Legal in Drivers� License Photos

December 5, 2005

Source: Outlook India

Wire Service: AP

On December 5, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Sikhs can wear their turbans in drivers' licence photos, France's highest administrative body ruled today, overturning an order to deliver a licence to a Sikh who refused to take off his turban for the photo. The ruling does not apply to identity or residence cards. The Council of State, hearing a case brought by Shingara Mann Singh, said officials of his region, the Val d'Oise, could not, as they did, cite a 1999 order by the Interior Ministry to refuse the licence. The council said drivers' licences were not an Interior Ministry affair, and that only the transport minister had the right to 'define the conditions ... And determine the documents to be furnished'... The ruling could open the way for others, including Muslims wearing head scarves, to get drivers' licence photos that show them with their heads covered. However, the technical loophole could be undone should the Transport Ministry issue clearer orders banning head coverings on drivers' licence photos. Last year conspicuous apparel, such as Muslim head scarves or Sikh turbans, was banned from public schools."