‘It contradicts my religious beliefs’: Sikh law student’s suit over mandatory oath to monarchy dismissed in Canada

Toronto, October 19

A judge in Canada has dismissed a challenge by a Sikh law student, who had sued the Edmonton city in Alberta and law society in the province over mandatory oath to the monarchy last year.

Prabjot Singh Wirring, a baptised Sikh, had said in his lawsuit that swearing a mandatory oath to the monarch would contradict his religious beliefs, according to CBC News.

“For me, it’s a fundamental part of who I am as a person. The requirement to take that oath of allegiance would require me to renege on the vows and the oath that I’ve already made and (do) a lot of damage to who I am as a person and to my identity,” Wirring had told CBC News earlier.

The time when Wirring filed a lawsuit, the oath was to Queen Elizabeth II and as such she was referenced throughout the decision, which was heard in Court of Queen’s Bench.

At the core of the decision, which was given on Monday, was the nature of the oath — whether it was to the Queen herself or symbolic of Canada’s constitutional monarchy.

In her ruling, Justice Barbara Johnston said: “I have found that the Oath of Allegiance is properly characterised as an oath to uphold and maintain the rule of law and the Canadian constitutional system.

“Any reference to the Queen in the Oath of Allegiance is as a symbol of these values, and not to the Queen as a political or religious entity.”

The law society took no position.

It had said in a statement last year that the issue is for the province, because any change must be legislated.

Johnston also dismissed an application from Alberta to strike the case with the argument it had already been resolved.

Thirty-two Alberta law professors sent an open letter last year to the then-justice minister urging to amend legislation and make the oath optional, as is the case in other jurisdictions like Ontario and British Columbia.

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