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Turban vs Helmet: Sikhs to Compromise on Freedom of Religion

One of Germany’s top five courts has ruled that even Sikh motorcyclists cannot be exempted from the rule on religious grounds and they are obliged to wear a helmet. Rejection a Sikh man’s appeal, the ruling by the federal administrative court in Leipzig was backed by a verdict from a lower court in the southern city of Constance. According to a report, earlier, a Sikh man had argued that the helmet would not fit over his turban. To which a lower court in the southern city of Constance, had found that driving a motorcycle was not necessary for the applicant, as he also had access to a delivery van and a car. The Federal Administrative Court, presiding judge, Renate Philipp, said, “People wearing a turban on religious grounds are not for that reason alone exempt from the obligation to wear a helmet.” Renate added that the petitioner has to accept this restriction to his freedom of religion, as it serves to uphold the rights of others. A Dastaar or Pagg is an headwear associated with Sikhism. Dastaar has traditionally been mandatory for all male Sikhs, which even though women can also choose to wear one. It represents honor, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. Sikhs are exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets in the UK as well as several provinces in Canada too.

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