Europe court says no to turban on Sikh’s driving licence

Sikh man loses right to wear turban in driving licence photo after EU court ruling

A Sikh man who wanted the right to wear a turban while being photographed for his French drivers’ licence has lost his case in the European Court of Human Rights.

Shingara Mann Singh, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the authorities who refused to issue a new licence with a photograph of him wearing a turban.

Under French regulations, motorists must appear ‘bareheaded and facing forward’ in their licence photographs but the Sikh religion requires men to wear a turban at all times.

Mr Singh, 52, took his case to the ECHR but the Strasbourg-based court dismissed the case.

It ruled that ‘identity photographs for use on driving licences which showed the subject bareheaded were needed by the authorities in charge of public safety.’


In a statement, it recognised that the rule on photographs ‘amounted to interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion‘, but judged that this was justified.

Freedom of religion ‘did not always guarantee the right to behave in a manner governed by a religious belief and did not confer on people who did so the right to disregard rules that had proved to be justified,’ the court said.
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– Source: Sikh man loses right to wear turban in driving licence photo after EU court ruling, The Daily Mail (UK), Nov. 28, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

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This post was last updated: Nov. 28, 2008