Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday took a strong exception to the union ministry for home affairs asking the Haryana governor to reconsider his assent to the Act passed by the Haryana legislature setting up a separate gurdwara management committee.
He said it was not only unprecedented but amounted to constitutional impropriety.
In a statement issued here, Amarinder said it was exclusively the matter of Haryana. Besides, he added, Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, gave a clear mandate to Haryana to set up its own SGPC, which it had done.
"You don't order a governor, who is the constitutional head of the state, to withdraw his assent to a law passed by the state legislature," he pointed out, while adding that the union home ministry appeared to have breached its brief apparently to mollycoddle Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had made it a point of prestige not to allow setting up of a separate body for Haryana Sikhs.
Amarinder asserted that an overwhelming majority of Sikhs not only in Haryana but also in Punjab and other parts of the country were supportive of a separate body for Haryana Sikhs. "So what is wrong in that?" he asked.
The former chief minister wondered as to why Badal and the SGPC controlled by him had not sought judicial intervention. "If they think the Haryana Act is illegal and unconstitutional, what stops them from going to court?" he asked, while adding, "or is it because they know that they do not stand a chance in a court of law as the Haryana Act is absolutely legitimate and legal and hence are trying to use extra-judicial pressure and emotional blackmail with the Centre to force Haryana to withdraw the law even though it goes against the federal character of our democracy, which Badal has been advocating for the last 50 years and is now trying to weaken it?"
Asserting that the Haryana Act was constitutionally valid and legal, Amarinder said Haryana was competent to legislate a separate and special state law dealing with gurdwaras within Haryana.