Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Tuesday asked the Sikhs living in India and abroad to discuss and deliberate on the new draft of 'Sikh Anand Marriage Act-2012', which will enable the community members to get their marriages registered under a separate Act.
He said that a committee comprising intellectuals, legal luminaries and experts would be formed under the aegis of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to take a final decision regarding the draft to be taken up with the Centre to frame the law for the Sikh community.
The Jathedar was addressing Sikh intelligentsia during the presentation of the draft by its maker -- Daljit Singh, principal of Khalsa College and legal luminary -- at Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), a Sikh religious and academic body.
The Jathedar said that the draft needed more discussion and should be printed in bulk for distribution among the Sikh masses. "The draft should be made available on the Internet, so that Sikhs across the globe can go through it," he said.
"We will soon form a committee under the SGPC to study the draft and after an ardas at the Akal Takht, the same will be forwarded to the government," said the Jathedar.
Earlier, Daljit Singh initiated an intense debate and there was a general opinion that the Sikhs must have their own separate personal law and agreed to adopt the draft, the copy of which was submitted to the Jathedar.
The participants were of the opinion that the amendments being made in the Anand Marriage Act,1909, were not sufficient and were not as per the aspirations of the Sikhs.
Daljit Singh said that there was already a debate going on over the absence of divorce clause in the Act and the draft of the new Act should be adopted by the Centre to make a 'complete law' that would govern Sikh marriages and all its aspects, including divorce, maintenance, adoption and other issues.
In his address, Daljit Singh said that the draft had been prepared keeping in view the Sikh maryada (code of conduct) and thoroughly dealt with issues including definition of Sikh and 'Anand Karaj', divorce, alimony and property rights and adoption.
He said that the separate Act for Sikhs should not be construed as a political demand but a legal one, which is the constitutional right of the community. He termed the existing Anand Marriage Act-1909 confusing and not enough to call it a full-fledged law to govern the Sikh marriages.
Khalsa College governing council president Satyajit Singh Majithia appreciated the attempt of CKD to initiate the debate and said he found no reasons why Sikhs should not have their own personal law.
Khalsa College governing council honorary secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina said that it was Sikhs' constitutional right to have a separate law.
Earlier, CKD president Charanjit Singh Chadha thanked the participants and Daljit Singh for preparing the draft and said that the CKD was always there to safeguard the interests of the community.