Five months after reserving its judgment in the case, the Delhi high court has again started hearing the petition that sought de-registration of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as a secular party for its participation in the gurdwara elections.
The matter has been listed for April 21 before a fresh bench, after high court chief justice G Rohini recused herself from the case on Tuesday.
The high court will continue its hearing in the case, notwithstanding the orders kept reserved by the chief justice on the five-year-old petition.
The April 21 hearing will be the fourth date of hearing after the judgment was reserved on November 5, 2015. The matter had come up before the chief justice on February 9 as the petitioner’s counsel wanted to know the fate of the case three months after the judgment was reserved. The division bench comprising the chief justice and justice Jayant Nath adjourned the matter to March 16, and subsequently to April 5, when the chief justice recused herself from the case.
The case background
RTI activist Balwant Singh Khera of the Socialist Party (India) had filed the public interest litigation in the Delhi high court in 2010, asking for directions to the Election Commission to cancel the registration of the SAD.
It was said that only a secular political party could contest parliamentary and assembly elections as per the People’s Representation Act.
The petition claimed that the SAD had submitted its party constitution to the Gurdwara Election Commission for recognition as a Sikh religious body to contest the gurdwara elections, while another copy of its constitution submitted to the EC mentioned the SAD as a secular party.
Khera told HT, “We already wanted the replacement of the division bench under the chief justice, and it is good that the chief justice herself recused after repeatedly adjourning the hearings.”