Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar have been summoned before civil judge (junior division) Navdeep Kaur Gill in person on May 19 to answer why contempt-of-court proceedings should not be initiated against them over evicting a tenant from an SGPC-run shop near the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The others summoned to appear on May 19 include SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh, shrine’s estate manager Paramjit Singh, rent-collection clerk Tarsem Singh, and three other employees of the Sikh religious body. The summons were issued on Friday on a petition by Harbir Singh, tenant of shop 12 near the Ghanta Ghar main entrance to the shrine.
The plaintiff submitted that the eviction on the night of April 12 had violated the same court’s June 2012 orders restraining the SGPC from dispossessing the plaintiff, except in the due course of law. The court observed that citizens had the right to protect their property until it was taken away from them by legal means.
Calling for contempt-of-court proceedings against Sukhbir, Makkar and others named in his petition, Harbir Singh submitted that the 50-odd people sent over to evict him had stolen all shop items, besides gold ornaments and a purse containing Rs 10,000 cash. He filed photographs as evidence and claimed that police had not considered his application for registering a case of theft.
The petitioner has alleged that it was the deputy CM who on his visit to the Golden Temple on April 11 had directed the SGPC officials to get shop 12 cleared so that the government could proceed with its plan to beautify the area around the shrine. Barring the petitioner, all other traders from rented shops on both sides of Ghanta Ghar had received alternative sites from the government.
The shopkeeper has also sought a theft case against those who came in to evict him.