Haryana Guv okays HSGPC Bill

Chandigarh (TIP): On a day when a delegation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) met Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia against the passage of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Bill, 2014, by the Haryana Assembly, the Governor on July 14 gave his assent to the Bill, paving the way for the creation of a separate body for the management of the Sikh shrines in Haryana. The assent by the Governor came as a relief to the Hooda Government eyeing Sikh votes ahead of the Assembly elections later this year even as the SGPC described the Bill as “a blatant constitutional transgression” and “a brazen interference in Sikh religious affairs”.

Urging Pahadia to decline assent to the Bill and “seek clarification regarding reserving the Bill for Presidential assent,” a delegation threemember delegation led by SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar today submitted a memorandum to the him alleging that the Bill been passed in an “unconstitutional manner”. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, however, reiterated his stand claiming that the Vidhan Sabha was competent to pass Bill and “there is no need to forward it to the President” after Governor’s assent.

“It was part of party’s manifesto for the 2005 and 2009 Assembly elections. It was party’s agenda and was based on demand of the Sikh brothers,” Hooda added. Meanwhile, the SGPC memorandum maintained that a state Vidhan Sabha had “no legislative competence “to pass a bill on a subject, which was governed by an Act of the Parliament. “Even after Partition, the gurdwaras which fell in the undivided state of Punjab and PEPSU have continuously been under the jurisdiction of the SGPC by virtue of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.This scope of jurisdiction has been preserved even after the territorial bifurcation of the state in November,1966,by according SGPC the status of an inter-state body corporate,” the memorandum asserted.

Akal Takht excommunicates HSGPC Chattha, Nalvi, Jhinda
Akal Takht on July 16 excommunicated Haryana Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha and state Sikh leaders Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalvi for “challenging the supremacy of Akal Takht by conspiring to divide the SGPC despite being repeatedly warned against it”. Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, while reading out his edict from the rostrum of the Takht this afternoon, said: “The Sikh Sangat is directed to socially, religiously and politically boycott these individuals until they appear before Akal Takht and undergo ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment).” The decision came after the Sikh clergy and the SGPC executive committee held separate meetings. The meeting of Sikh high priests was preceded by a meeting of the SGPC executive, which passed a resolution terming the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Bill 2014 to form a separate gurdwara panel for Haryana as “unconstitutional” and seeking action against Haryana Sikh leaders involved in it.

Punjab Assembly passes anti-HSGPC resolution
In the backdrop of controversy over the formation of a separate gurdwara panel by Haryana, the Punjab Legislative Assembly on July 17 passed by voice vote a resolution seeking the Centre’s intervention in prohibiting any state to interfere in religious matter of other states. The Congress opposed the resolution saying the Akalis were to blame for the formation of the Haryana Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) as they had politicised the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for their own vested interests. The Congress MLAs said they were for all for the unity of the Sikhs when it came to making of the All-India Gurdwara Act, but the Akalis had no right to oppose the HSGPC.

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