Oct 18, 2015

Pastafarian who fought to wear pirate hat or colander in driver's licence photo scolded by Quebec judge

National Post
Paul Delean
Postmedia News
October 13, 2015

A woman who took legal action in Montreal seeking permission to wear a pirate hat or colander in her driver’s licence photo not only got denied in Superior Court, she got a rebuke from Judge Stéphane Sansfaçon for wasting court resources.

In his ruling, the judge said the time of employees and lawyers and a half-day of courtroom availability were devoted to Isabelle Narayana’s suit, at a time when judicial resources are limited.

“Too many people implicated in real litigation with consequences that could affect their lives or those of their children or enterprise are waiting their turn in court for us to be silent about the monopolization of these resources to determine if the plaintiff can be photographed wearing a colander or pirate hat,” he said.

“We forget too often that the courts are a public service with limited resources that must not be abused.”

Narayana, who claimed to belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster whose members are known as Pastafarians, went to court after the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) said she couldn’t wear a colander or pirate hat in the photo. She’d shown up to renew her permit at an SAAQ office in March 2014, in full pirate attire, but was denied. Only medical or religious exceptions are allowed to the no-head-covering rule.

Narayana argued that since the exception applies to Muslim women, it should apply to her as well, given her religious affiliation. Court was told she subsequently showed up at an SAAQ office for the photo wearing a head scarf, which she told the court was the costume of a female pirate who happened to be Muslim. The head scarf met SAAQ rules and the photo was taken, but she said she still wanted the court to rule on whether her rights were violated by the original denial.

“I believe that I have the same right to express my personal beliefs and chosen religion as much as someone wearing a kippah, a hijab or a turban,” she maintained.

Judge Sansfaçon said the fact she had a valid driver’s licence while wearing the accoutrements of her “religion” meant there was no real question to decide.

The case “raises no real charter question,” he wrote, adding “it’s not up to the courts to rewrite charters, it’s up to legislators, if they choose to do so.”

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/pastafarian-who-fought-to-wear-pirate-hat-or-colander-in-drivers-licence-photo-scolded-by-quebec-judge

Post a Comment