High court to examine legal sanctity of Akal Takht ‘hukamnamas’ - Hindustan Times
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High court to examine legal sanctity of Akal Takht ‘hukamnamas’

By, Chandigarh
Apr 26, 2023 02:04 AM IST

The high court bench of justice Sandeep Moudgil passed the order after the counsel of a complainant of an FIR registered for hurting religious sentiments had submitted before court that as per the ‘hukamnama’ issued, it is only Guru Granth Sahib which is to be worshipped as sole Guru and it was on that account that the FIR was registered by the Amritsar police.

The Punjab and Haryana high court has said it would examine the legal sanctity of ‘hukamnamas’ (edicts) by the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and other provisions of the law which bars any individual from preaching Sikh religion as a follower.

Punjab and Haryana high court has said it would examine the legal sanctity of ‘hukamnamas’ (edicts) by the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and other provisions of the law which bars any individual from preaching Sikh religion as a follower. (Shutterstock)
Punjab and Haryana high court has said it would examine the legal sanctity of ‘hukamnamas’ (edicts) by the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and other provisions of the law which bars any individual from preaching Sikh religion as a follower. (Shutterstock)

The high court bench of justice Sandeep Moudgil passed the order after the counsel of a complainant of an FIR registered for hurting religious sentiments had submitted before court that as per the ‘hukamnama’ issued, it is only Guru Granth Sahib which is to be worshipped as sole Guru and it was on that account that the FIR was registered by the Amritsar police.

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The petitioner, Sanjay Rai, against whom the FIR was registered in Amritsar for hurting religious sentiments on December 23, 2022, had approached court seeking anticipatory bail.

The FIR was registered against the petitioner as he claimed himself to be “the incarnation of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s soul”. In the FIR, it was alleged that the petitioner was “misleading the people and hurting religious sentiments, prestige and honour of the Sikh faith”. The accused, who lives in Delhi, allegedly had made these claims through a video, which the complainant had brought before the police.

The court observed that there is no other material whatsoever, either from perusal of the FIR and any other subsequent investigation conducted by the police so far, which could be termed to say at this stage prima facie that any kind of insult has been caused to the feelings of the particular community either by way of spoken words, written words or gestures or any kind of conduct or by posting such material through social media.

“Be that as it may, the question with regard to the legal sanctity of hukamnama and any other provisions of law, which bars any individual from preaching Sikh religion as a follower, would amount to hurt or insult the sentiments and feelings of that particular community in any manner needs examination,” the bench observed, appointing an amicus curiae in the case and posting the matter for further examination on May 4.

Prima facie, no offence under Section 295-A (hurting religious sentiments) of Indian Penal Code is made out, hence the petitioner is directed to be released on interim bail, the court said.

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