Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Sikh Army Captain Sues Seeking Religious Accommodation

U.S. Army Captain Simratpal Singh, a Sikh, filed suit yesterday in federal district court in the District of Columbia seeking an injunction to require the Army to allow him to continue to serve without requiring him to shave, cut his hair or remove his turban.  According to the complaint (full text) and memorandum in support of application for a TRO and preliminary injunction (full text), Singh was granted a temporary accommodation last December (see prior posting), but as its March 31 expiration approached Singh was ordered to report for special helmet testing and several days of safety-mask testing. No one else in the army has been subjected to this kind of testing.  According to the complaint, "the Army’s discriminatory testing and regulations expose Captain Singh to serious consequences of military discipline and the loss of his career for his religious exercise." The complaint alleges violations of RFRA as well as of the 1st and 5th Amendments.  Becket Fund issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.