IndiGo pilot moves HC seeking permission to carry kirpan on plane

Also, allowing passengers to carry a kirpan on board a plane but not giving the same right to airline staff defies logic, it added.

Mumbai: A pilot working with IndiGo, a private airline, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the Union government to allow him to carry a `kirpan’ while flying.

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Kirpan is a short knife with a curved blade, worn, sometimes in miniature form, as one of the five distinguishing signs of the Sikh Khalsa.

Angad Singh, a pilot with InterGlobe Aviation which operates IndiGo, claimed in the petition filed before the Nagpur bench of the high court that he has the right to carry a kirpan as part of the freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.

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A division bench of Justices Nitin Sambre and Abhay Mantri on Monday issued a notice to the Union government and the airline, seeking their replies. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on January 29, 2024.

Singh’s lawyer advocate Saahil Shyam Dewani said the restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation are required to be amended as on March 12, 2022, the government issued guidelines permitting Sikh passengers to carry a kirpan of a particular size.

The guidelines, however, said employees (including those belonging to the Sikh religion) working at airports or airlines are not allowed to carry a kirpan.

This was a violation of his fundamental rights, the petition claimed.

Also, allowing passengers to carry a kirpan on board a plane but not giving the same right to airline staff defies logic, it added.

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