McConville and other Army officials had contended the articles of faith would have an adverse impact on unit cohesion and morale, discipline and health and safety. Singh, a resident of Queens in New York, who plans to enrol in the ROTC program in autumn, told Newsday in a phone interview: “Being told no a handful of times, I didn’t give up.”
“I had faith and let things play out,” he was quoted as saying. “I’ll be going on weekend field exercises, which I wasn’t previously able to do. I’m very excited about that.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and advocacy group United Sikhs filed the lawsuit in November, saying the Army’s denial violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives protections for religious-based exercises.
Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said in a statement: “The Army is currently examining the court’s ruling. The Army takes pride in sustaining a culture where all personnel are treated with dignity and respect and not discriminated against based on race, colour, religion, gender and national origin.” The Army last year rejected Singh’s request to enrol in the ROTC program, saying the student had to comply with the service’s grooming and uniform policies before they would consider his request, according to the judge’s ruling. Hofstra, in a statement, said it supports “Singh’s desire to serve his country, as well as his right to religious expression and practice. We are pleased that the courts have affirmed that he can do both as a member of the ROTC.”(IANS)