Include constituencies from Haryana in SGPC polls: SGPC to HC - Hindustan Times
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Include constituencies from Haryana in SGPC polls: SGPC to HC

By, Chandigarh
Dec 19, 2023 08:24 AM IST

The Sikh body has responded to a plea seeking directions not to exclude Haryana from the electoral rolls for the Sikh body poll

: Breaking silence over varied demands on Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls, the SGPC has asserted that eight segments in Haryana should be included in the polls.

Include constituencies from Haryana in SGPC polls: SGPC to HC
Include constituencies from Haryana in SGPC polls: SGPC to HC

“The management of historical Sikh Gurdwaras irrespective of their situs should vest in all-inclusive true representative body of Sikhs. SGPC stand by the decision of Sarbat Khalsa and oppose any artificial divide on the basis of place of residence of Sikhs to exclude them from the management of Gurdwaras, a common Sikh heritage,” the SGPC said further asserting that “It is fundamental right of the entire Sikh religious community , as enshrined under Aerticle26 of the Constitution of Indian, to manage its religious affairs, which includes to manage the historic Gurdwaras , places of its religious heritage,” the SGPC affidavit filed in response to a November plea said.

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The Sikh body has responded to a plea seeking directions not to exclude Haryana from the electoral rolls for the Sikh body poll. The plea was form Baldev Singh (74), a resident of Yamunanagar, and Gurdeep Singh (63), a resident of Ambala district of Haryana. They were elected SGPC members from Haryana during the 2011 poll.

The plea had argued the SGPC election is governed by the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 as per which eight constituencies fall in Haryana. They had sought directions to quash the election process initiated on May 25, 2023 whereby the constituencies of Haryana have been excluded. They had also challenged October 20, communication by the chief commissioner, Gurdwara Election to Punjab, Chandigarh, and Himachal Pradesh for preparation of electoral rolls for constitution of new board of SGPC as per which Haryana segments were excluded.

SGPC says historical Sikh Gurdwaras are the heritage of the entire Sikh community and management and control vests with the SGPC. “To make arrangements for the management of Harmandir Sahib and other Gurdwaras the Sarbat Khalsa met on November 15, 1920 in pursuance of a Hukmnama from Sri Akal Takht. It resolved to constitute SGPC of 175 members to manage all the Gurdwara in Punjab as well as outside the Punjab.” it said adding that representation in the committee was given district wise from Punjab which then comprised Haryana as well and provinces wise from other provinces of India. Sikh princely states and Sikh bodies from America, Burma (now Myanmar), China and Malaya (now Malaysia) were also given representation, it added.

SGPC supported the demand in the petition and said that eight constitutes as per April 1996 notification should be included in the SGPC polls. In the present board of SGPC, there are a total 11 elected members from these eight constitutes of Haryana out of which one member is also part of the executive committee of SGPC, it informed.

Besides this plea, there are some other petitions as well one PIL demands a uniform procedure for the registration of voters and preparation of electoral rolls and allowing voters to register online. One plea is from a Amritsar resident, seeking directions to quash the notification of April 20, 1996, and the subsequent notification of September 17, 2009, in the light of the enactment of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014. The plea refers to the Supreme Court judgment in the case of ‘Harbhajan Singh versus State of Haryana’ upholding the separate body for Haryana and argues that fresh proceedings be initiated to notify constituencies for election of SGPC members in terms of Section 44 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, in view of 2014 Act.

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