In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday restored the voting rights of around 60 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs in elections to the highest Sikh body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
A Sehajdhari is someone who has taken the path of gradually adopting Sikh tenets, according to the religious definition.
The full bench comprising justice Surya Kant, justice M Jeyapaul and justice MMS Bedi in its 128-page judgment quashed the central government’s notification dated October 8, 2003 debarring Sehajdharis from voting in the SGPC elections.
Sehajdharis had been earlier authorised to vote by the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.
It is, however, not clear how Tuesday’s judgment will affect the SGPC polls held in September. Though Sehajdharis could not vote in the September 18 polls to the Sikh religious body, in reality the rule barring them was flouted in many parts of Punjab and other states where polls were held.