Legal victories for the Sikhs

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On this page are listed all known legal victories for the Sikhs (and others) for the right to wear their articles of faith and/or 5Ks:


  • 1989: S11 of the Employment Act 1989 exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any requirements to wear safety helmets on a construction site. Where a turban-wearing Sikh is injured on a construction site liability for injuries is restricted to the injuries that would have been sustained if the Sikh had been wearing a safety helmet.
  • 1983: Mandla v Dowell Lee - Sikhs boy wins right to wear the Turban in school. Britain's highest court, the House of Lords, ruled that Sikhs were a distinct ethnic group and entitled to protection under the Race Relations Act. This effectively gave them the right to wear beards and turbans in all walks of life.
  • November 22, 1976: Race Relation Act 1976 passed outlawing indirect discrimination
  • 1976: Sikhs who wear Turbans need not wear crash helmets when they ride Motor Cycles or Scooters. They have been allowed to wear Turban as their only headgear. In accordance with the Motor-Cycle Crash Helmets (Religious Exemption) Act 1976 passed by the British Parliament in 1976, Section 2A "exempts any follower of the Sikh religion while he is wearing a turban" from having to wear a crash helmet.
  • April 9, 1969: Sikh busmen win turban fight Sikh busmen in Wolverhampton have won the right to wear turbans on duty after a long-running campaign.
  • November 8, 1965: First Race Relation legislation passed in the UK


  • April, 2004: Sikh policeman wins turban case The ruling is being hailed a victory for all Sikhs. A US judge has ruled a Sikh traffic policeman, who was forced to leave his job because he insisted on wearing a turban, should be reinstated.
  • January 2002: A judge in criminal court in Manhattan dismissed criminal charges against Harjit Singh and Lal Singh for wearing a kirpan after learning that the kirpan is a religious article of faith.


  • July 1, 2008: Hasselt, Belgium - The Hasselt Civil Court overturned today (01 July 2008) a ban on the patka, a Sikh head covering, which was imposed by a state school, KTA Domein Speelhof, on five Sikh schoolboys since 2005. The court said that the ban on the religious head covering was a violation of the Sikh students' right to manifest their religion under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, of which Belgium is a signatory.

See also