The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, which was passed by Haryana assembly on Friday, would facilitate the establishment of a committee — Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee — for the proper management and control of gurdwaras and gurdwara properties within Haryana.
As per the contents of the Bill, the committee would have its head office at Kurukshetra and regional offices at Panchkula and Jind. It would consist of 40 members to be elected from various wards for which the entire Haryana would be divided in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
The term of office of a member of the committee would be five years.
As per the Bill, every person who has been ordinarily resident of a ward for not less than six months at the time of registration as a voter and is a Sikh of not less than 18 years of age would be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for his ward.
No person would be registered as a voter who is a Patit or trims or shaves his beard or Keshas, uses tobacco, kutha (halal meat) or intoxicants and takes alcoholic drinks. Every person registered on the electoral roll shall have right to vote provided that no person would be entitled to vote at an election in more than one ward. For the purpose of election of committee members, the state would be divided into 40 single member wards. Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, may from time to time in consultation with the committee alter or amend the number or territorial areas of the wards.
An electoral roll with photograph of electors or voters would be prepared for every ward in which the names of all persons entitled to be registered as voters in that ward, would be entered. No person would be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll for any ward more than once. No person would be entitled to be registered in the electoral roll in more than one ward. The registration of electoral rolls would be compulsorily registerable by the Gurdwara Election Commission.
The state government may appoint a suitable person to be the commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, in whom would vest the powers of superintendence, direction, control and preparation of electoral rolls for, and conduct of, elections of members of the committee. The state government may also appoint special commissioner, Gurdwara Elections; additional commissioner Gurdwara Elections; or joint commissioner, Gurdwara Elections; or deputy commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, keeping in view the fitness of things and proper administrative adjudication of the provisions of this Act and its rules and regulations.
The control, direction and general superintendence over all the gurdwaras and gurdwara property within Haryana would vest in the committee. The duty of the committee would be to arrange for the proper performance of the religious rites and rituals and ceremonies in the gurdwaras, to provide facilities for worship by the devotees at the gurdwaras, to ensure safe custody of its funds, moveable and immoveable properties, deposits, offerings either in cash or in kind and proper utilisation of funds, in the manner, as may be prescribed, to do all such things or functions as may be incidental and conducive to the efficient management of the affairs of the gurdwaras, educational and other institutions under the committee and other properties.
The committee would also be responsible to provide suitable accommodation and facilities for pilgrimage to devotees, to maintain free langars to the visiting devotees, to manage the historical and other Gurdwaras, educational and other institutions and their properties in such a way so as to promote Sikh tradition, culture, heritage and religion.
It will also ensure the maintenance of order, discipline and proper hygienic conditions in gurdwaras, educational and other institutions under its management, to open free dispensaries for medical checkup and proper assistance to the visiting devotees, spread education, culture and Sikh heritage, especially the knowledge of the Punjabi in Gurmukhi script, establish educational, engineering, medical, Information and Technology institutions, research centres and libraries, render sufficient financial assistance to religious and educational institutions, societies and also to arrange for financial assistance to needy persons in harness, arrange stipends to poor, needy and deserving students studying in the schools or institutions managed by the committee, render help in the case of upliftment of the Sikh community and propagation of Sikh religion, tenets, rites and rituals as per Sikh “Maryada”.
The committee would also arrange the pilgrimage of the Sikh devotees belonging to Haryana to places of worship and Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan or other parts of the world in consultation with the state or the central government, as the case may be, entertain and perform such other functions and to do such religious or charitable acts, as may be prescribed for carrying out the ideals and high traditions of Sikhism.
A person would not be qualified to be elected or co-opted as member of the committee, if such person has not attained the age of 25, is not a citizen of India, in the case of an elected member, if he is not registered as a voter in the electoral roll in the concerned ward, is not an Amritdhari Sikh, is a Patit or being an Amritdhari Sikh, trims or shaves his beard or Keshas, takes alcoholic drinks or takes intoxicants or uses Kutha (Halal meat), is of unsound mind and has been so declared by a competent court or medical authority, is an undischarged insolvent, has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude or has been dismissed from service by government, board, committee or any other local authority, on account of moral turpitude, is a paid servant of any Gurdwara and is unable to read or write Punjabi in Gurmukhi script.
A Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission of three members who shall be Sikhs as defined under this Act would also be constituted.
The commission would adjudicate upon the disputes relating to Gurdwara property, moveable or immoveable, including the gurdwara fund and other incidental disputes inter se between the gurdwara committee, executive board or inter se between various gurdwara and private individuals, or any other institutions or any other juristic persons.