Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to clarify his stand on the issue of federalism against the backdrop of his attempts to force the Centre to overrule a Haryana legislation.
Amarinder said the new Haryana law was within the jurisdiction of that state according to the Concurrent List in the seventh schedule of the Constitution. “All through your six-decades political career, you claimed to have stood for a strong federal structure with stronger states, and now at the fag-end of it, you are undermining the same principles you claimed were dear to you?” the former Punjab CM asked the incumbent, referring to his “kiddish obduracy” in trying to coerce the Centre to set aside the act Haryana had passed for the management its gurdwaras.
The former CM stated that under entry 28 in the Concurrent List, any state was empowered and authorised to legislate on “charities and charitable institutions, charitable and religious endowments, and religious institutions”. He pointed out that the management of gurdwaras, which the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Mangement Committee (HSGMC) was mandated to do, was very much within the definition of “religious institutions”.
Besides, he said, Haryana was also authorised to legislate on the issue in accordance to Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. “Is it just for the personal interest of having control over the gurdwara funds in Haryana that he (Badal) has abdicated all that he stood for? Or is it like his characteristic double stand on Article 370, which he seeks to protect but is supporting a party (Bharatiya Janata Party) that seeks to abrogate it?” he added, challenging Badal to clarify.