Human Rights

DMC regulates security frisking of Muslim women and Sikh men

New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission came across several complaints from Muslim women and Sikh men about their persecution on the pretext of security and frisking, so much so that affected persons are at times seriously harmed and prevented from attending an examination or test or interview or catching a train when so-called security requirements are used without considering the victims’ religious beliefs.

The Commission said in an order that “While security precautions are very much required but the same should not be used to harm the interests of minority individuals, especially students.” The Commission considered this matter and has decided that where certain security arrangements and frisking are required, candidates must be clearly informed in advance that they have to present themselves at the frisking point, say half an hour, before the normal reporting time.

The DMC order said that the frisking staff is fully within its rights to check hijab (scarf) of Muslim women and allow them in after making sure that security requirements have been met. Muslim women cannot be denied their religious duty to observe hijab (wering scarf). They must also be allowed to wear full sleeve shirts which the security staff can frisk. This is based on the Kerala High Court order dated 21 July, 2015 in the case W.P. (C) Nos. 21696 of 2015 – J & 21905 of 2015 – K where both hijab and long sleeves have been allowed for Muslim women with the provision that they should be subjected to frisking by staff of the same sex. Judgements of any high court are applicable all over the country.

As regards Sikh males, the Commission said they must be allowed to wear kirpans of reasonable length as the Indian Constitution’s Art. 25 allows Sikhs to wear kirpans. The DMC order said all departments of Government of NCT of Delhi, especially educational institutions, are directed to meticulously observe this direction. The order added that failure to do so will attract legal action by the Commission.