Supreme Court has asked if wearing a turban integral part of Sikh religion or just covering one’s head was, after a Delhi-based cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri challenged a local cycling association’s ruled that required him to wear a helmet to participate in a competition.
The cyclists had filed a petition with the plea that he cannot wear a helmet because for him wearing a turban is mandatory as per Sikh religion.
A bench of justices LN Rao and SA Bodbe referring to sports persons from Sikh community who did not wear turbans while participating in games said, “Bishen Singh Bedi simply covering his head while playing cricket. What do Sikh soldiers do when they go in battles.”
The bench also asked Puri to define ‘what is turban’ and ‘if he has showed anything that makes it mandatory under Sikh religion to wear a turban only.’
Puri’s lawyer told the Apex Court that the Central Motor Vehicle Act grants exemption to Sikhs from wearing helmets while driving two-wheelers.
The lawyer gave examples of UK and US, where Sikh have been permitted to wear turbans while playing sports.
However, the bench gave example of Milkha Singh and said, “great sportspersons have never worn a turban.”
The Supreme Court also suggested Puri to wear a helmet as it was for one’s safety.
The Apex Court has fixed next hearing on April 23 and asked a senior advocate to assist in the matter.
Puri had moved to the Supreme Court after he was disqualified from a long distance cycling by the organisers for not wearing a helmet.