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A Case Of Religious Freedom : Multani V. Commission Scolaire. Examines The Two Principle Reasons For The Ruling In Favour Of Multani.

1595 words - 6 pages

SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1 In November 2001, a boy who followed the Sikh faith dropped his ceremonial kirpan dagger in a Montreal school yard. The school board was contacted about the incident and proceeded to impose a board-wide ban on the kirpan. The school board ban was overturned by the Quebec Superior Court, but then upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) which held that the ban was in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The SCC determined that in the case of Multani v. Commision Scolaire Marguerite -Bourgouys, the ban on the kirpan, as a symbol of religious expression, was not found to be reasonable or justifiable as required by Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but primarily because the school board ban on kirpans violated the individuals right to freedom of Religion under Section 2 of the Charter.Firstly, the Supreme Court of Canada, in their ruling on the case of Multani v. Commision Scolaire Marguerite -Bourgouys, found that the school-board imposed ban on kirpans , was not reasonable or justifiable as required by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Marguerite -Bourgouys School Board failed to establish that kirpans were a dangerous weapon or that they posed a threat to other students and the S.C.C. also decided that the ban was not reasonable because it was possible to accommodate the kirpan easily without a ban. At trial, the School Board first attempted to prove that school safety concerns outweighed the violation of religious freedom [the kirpan ban].The school board argued that allowing the kirpan in school would "lead to a proliferation of weapons" in school, and have a "negative impact" on the school environement. The SCC did recognize that it was possible to use the kirpan as a weapon, however they concluded that in a classroom setting, other items, such as scissors and baseball bats, were more readily available for use as a weapon than a sheathed kirpan would be. According to Justice Louise Charron ,who supported the majority decision , there are "objects that are much more easily obtained than a kirpan"to commit violent acts in schools. This furthers the position that both the ban and the argument that the kirpan is a dangerous weapon, are unreasonable.Aditionally, the principles of the Sikh faith were taken into consideration by the S.C.C., as the Sikh faith does not allow the kirpan to be used as a weapon, as doing so will cause ostracism from the Sikh community. In the ruling on Peel Board of Education v. Singh , the Ontario Inquiry Board found that the kirpan was a "spiritual symbol of justice, morality and order" , which affirms that a kirpan is not a weapon. The religious purpose of the kirpan is non-violent which further illustrates that the ban is unreasonable . Furthermore, there are no reports of a violent kirpan incident ever occurring in a Canadian school despite the fact the kirpans have been worn in...

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