Sehajdhari Sikhs' voting rights issue, HC suspends order | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Sehajdhari Sikhs' voting rights issue, HC suspends order

The Punjab and Haryana high court, on Tuesday, suspended its September 1 order, which dismissed three petitions related to the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections after a wrong statement by a senior advocate, while taking up the petition filed by center government seeking recalling of the order.

chandigarh Updated: Sep 06, 2011 19:26 IST
Sanjeev Verma

The Punjab and Haryana high court, on Tuesday, suspended its September 1 order, which dismissed three petitions related to the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections after a wrong statement by a senior advocate, while taking up the petition filed by center government seeking recalling of the order.

Whereas, Punjab’s counsel requested for an enquiry to unearth the alleged deep rooted controversy between the petitioners and the center government in the case.

The full bench comprising of justice MM Kumar, justice Alok Singh and justice Gurdev Singh also issued notice of motion to all the parties involved in the case i.e. petitioners Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, Harbans Singh Khandola and Hans Raj; Punjab government, SGPC and Gurudwara Election Commission so as to file their replies, if any, before October 13.

Taken aback by the verbal statement of senior advocate Harbhagwan Singh, who appeared for central government on September 1 and gave the wrong statement adding to the entire controvery, the bench held that “time has come when we must demand everything in written.”

During the arguments of the case, Punjab’s senior additional advocate general, MC Berry, requested the bench to investigate the case stating that this is a deep rooted conspiracy between the center government and the petitioners. He also cited some newspaper reports with the statements of union law minister on the issue to support his assertion, but the bench intervened and held that it is for the bench to see as to what decision is to be taken in the case. The bench also ordered that if Berry relies upon the media reports then he should file a proper affidavit in that respect with the connected material.

The bench stated, “time has come when we must demand everything in written.”

Whereas, appearing for the center government, assistant solicitor general Dr Anmol Rattan Sidhu objected to the arguments made by Berry. He informed the bench that on a suggestion that a suitable senior counsel may be engaged in the matter, ministry of law and justice had written a letter on September 1 approving the engagement of Harbhagwan Singh in two of the three cases but he had no authority to make the statement that the notification dated October 8, 2003 would be withdrawn by the government.

Arguing for the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, senior advocate Ashwani Chopra stated that the matter has been lingering on since 2003 when the petition was filed and it was ordered that SGPC elections would be held subject to the final decision on the petition. Whereas, after that elections were held in 2003 and this time also the elections would probably be over during the pendency of the petition, added Chopra. But since his client wants expeditious disposal of the case he had no intention to oppose the application filed by the union government.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, Hans Raj, advocate Mansur Ali stated that the center government’s application should be allowed and the case should be decided on merits. On this, the bench ordered that all the contentions should be made on affidavit by the parties whosoever want to file their replies.