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High Court London

Sikh Federation will continue campaign for recognition of Sikhs as a distinct ethnic group

Amrik Singh Gill and the Sikh Federation say they plan to continue their campaign to ensure the distinctiveness of the Sikh community is recognised in the UK after the High Court rejected their judicial review claim.

Posted on 06 November 2020

In a judgment handed down this morning, the judicial review challenge to the UK Government’s refusal to include a tick box to indicate Sikh ethnicity in the 2021 national Census was dismissed.
The Federation had argued that the decision to exclude the tick box is based on legally unsustainable reasoning and is therefore unlawful. 
The court ruled that:
  • It could not be successfully argued that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) had failed to apply a stated policy to its assessment of whether to include an ethnic tick box for the Sikh religion.
  • There was no unlawful failure to apply a published policy or unlawful application of an unpublished policy.
  • The prioritisation tool criteria had been applied consistently
  • There were no significant errors in relying on a report by Kantar Public, commissioned by ONS


Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“The ruling of Mr Justice Choudhury is a massive disappointment to the Sikh community, but our political battle will continue.  One chapter has ended, but another has opened. 
“The Cabinet Office know the main reason why we campaigned for having a Sikh ethnic tick box in the census is because over 40,000 public bodies use the census ethnic group categories to ensure equal opportunities and to formulate anti-discrimination policies.
“We will consider the full range of actions available to us to prevent discrimination against Sikhs by directing our efforts to each of the four main types of public bodies – schools, hospitals, local authorities and central government bodies.” 
Leigh Day solicitor Rosa Curling, who represented the claimants, said:
“Our clients are obviously disappointed the court did not agree with their concerns about the decision-making process leading to the exclusion of a Sikh ethnic tick-box in the next census. Our clients will continue their campaign through political channels and fight to rectify any disadvantages that might arise from a lack of data collected about their community.”