US Sikhs allowed to wear turbans in driving license photos

Washington, Feb 20: A Sikh American has won a legal victory in the US state of Minnesota allowing Sikhs to wear their turbans in driving license identification photographs.

The major legal victory for Sikh Americans came yesterday when Jatinder Singh of Blaine, Minnesota and SALDEF (Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund) succeeded in challenging Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services' (DVS) driver's license policy. Last month, Singh was told his turban was not allowed in his driver's license photo, effectively barring him from renewing his license.

Taking up the case, SALDEF argued against DVS's explicit policy on religious accommodation. DVS Director Patricia McCormick apologised for the incident.

DVS Director Patricia McCormick apologised for the incident

"As a result of your letter and the agent's actions, the department is working to remind agents and driver's license examination staff of the process for renewals specifically related to accommodating the Sikh turban," she said.

"We commend Director McCormack and the Minnesota DVS for quickly correcting this problem so Jatinder Singh could get his driver's license," said Jasjit Singh, executive director of SALDEF. "We also commend Jatinder Singh for identifying an opportunity to make change, for the benefit of Sikh Americans in Minnesota and elsewhere, who now see a shining example of a fair policy properly enforced," he said.


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