UK court to hear challenge over Sikh ethnicity tick box in census


According to some British Sikh groups, public bodies tend to only reference the ethnic groups used in the census and demand a separate Sikh ethnic tick box to ensure Sikhs have fair access to all public services. (Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
According to some British Sikh groups, public bodies tend to only reference the ethnic groups used in the census and demand a separate Sikh ethnic tick box to ensure Sikhs have fair access to all public services. (Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

A British Sikh group lobbying for a separate Sikh ethnicity tick box in the next UK census in 2021 has been granted permission by the UK High Court to present its arguments.

A judge considered the written submissions presented by the Sikh Federation (UK) and the counter arguments of the UK Cabinet Office and granted permission for a judicial review hearing, which is to take place over a day and a half later in the year.

“This decision by Justice Thornton sends a clear message to the Cabinet Office that our claim has legal merit,” said Amrik Singh, the Chair of Sikh Federation UK.

The organisation believes that it would be “unlawful” for the Cabinet Office to lay before Parliament a Census Order based on the proposals set out by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) in its December 2018 White Paper, which had rejected the need for a separate tick box.