London, Jan 5: A fourteen-year-old Sikh girl, who was suspended from her school in South Wales for wearing a 'Kara", has filed an appeal in the High Court challenging her school"s refusal to allow her to wear a religious bangle.
Sarika Singh has been excluded from Aberdare Girls" School in South Wales for two months after she refused to remove her Kara. She had to spend the same amount of time being taught in isolation. Liberty, the human rights group, has filed the challenge on her behalf. It argues that the school has breached race relations and human rights laws. The school prohibits the wearing of any jewellery other than watches and plain ear studs, The Times reported.
Earlier, Sarika was first suspended for a week in November 2007 after she refused to remove her Kara. On her return to school after completion of the suspension, she was turned away again over the bracelet - which she said is a "constant reminder to do good".
"We are very, very disappointed," said Sarika"s mother Sinita after a 20-minute meeting with headmistress Jane Rosser.
Sarika, who is the only Sikh student at the school, was accompanied by her mother, and a representative from the Valleys Race Equality Council, an organisation supported financially by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission on her return.
Liberty, the human rights group, is providing legal representation to the family. Its spokesman said that the group"s solicitor Anna Fairclough wrote to the school on, warning that an application for a judicial review of the decision to ban the bracelet would be lodged at the High Court if the matter was not resolved in the pupil's favour.
In February 2007, a High Court had rejected a Muslim pupil's demand to wear the niqab, which covers nearly all of the face.
However, Liberty said the bangle case is different because Sikhs are recognised in law as an ethnic as well as religious group - so the case falls under the Race Relations Act, as well as the Human Rights Act invoked in the niqab case.
After the school noticed that Sarika was wearing a Kara, she was taught in isolation for nine weeks before the suspension.