The controversy over the Haryana government’s move to set up a separate gurdwara management committee had its echo in the Lok Sabha on Monday with the Shiromani Akali Dal dubbing it as “illegal”, even as the Centre said the matter was now with the union home ministry.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Akali Dal MP Prem Singh Chandumajra asked the Centre to take note of the move which was “unconstitutional and illegal”, saying the laid-down law did not allow the government to interfere in gurdwara affairs.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The attorney general has made some observations and the rest of the matter is with the union home minister”.
Chandumajra said the Haryana government had enacted a law “which violates Article 254 of the Constitution. It is a direct interference in the constitutional frame of things”. The article deals with inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and those by state legislatures.
“What notice is being taken by the Centre? The law minister is present, he should take note of this,” Chandumajra said, adding that the 1959 pact between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sikh leader Master Tara Singh prohibited any “government interference” in gurdwara matters.
As the Akali member alleged that the move was intended to divide the Sikh community and took some names, Congress members were on their feet in protest and speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked him not to from taking names.
Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also attacked the Haryana government for enacting the bill, saying it was unconstitutional.
Briefing reporters outside Parliament, she said the move had by passed existing procedures.
“There is a procedure and the President has to give his consent to the bill. But, the Haryana government has enacted the bill by getting the approval of the governor, who is going to retire in six days,” Harsimrat said.
Pointing that the issue came under Schedule 7 of the concurrent list, she charged that the state government’s move was aimed at political gains.
“Why has the government carved out a separate committee when the state is going to the polls in two-and-a-half months? It is meant for political gains,” the SAD leader said.