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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

HSGMC row: Centre asks Haryana Guv to withdraw assent to Bill

PTI  New Delhi, July 18, 2014
First Published: 18:49 IST(18/7/2014) | Last Updated: 21:25 IST(18/7/2014)

After protests from Punjab, the Centre on Friday asked the Haryana Governor to withdraw the assent granted to a Bill aiming to create a separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC), saying the state assembly did not have legal authority to enact such a law and it was thus 'void'.

In a letter to Haryana chief secretary SC Choudhary, Union home secretary Anil Goswami said the 'Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014' passed by the state assembly on July 11, to which the Governor accorded his assent on July 14, has "no legal effect" and be withdrawn before any further complications arise.

"Accordingly, the state government of Haryana may kindly bring the above facts to the notice of the Governor and request the Governor to withdraw the assent given by him to the bill in view of the fact that the state legislature had no legislative competence and the bill passed is void and of no legal effect before any or further complications arise," Goswami said in his letter to Choudhary.

The letter comes after Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, along with party MPs, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu seeking the Centre's intervention to annul the Haryana government's move to form a separate SGPC for the state.

After the long deliberations between the union ministers and Badal, the Centre had sought legal opinion from the Attorney General of India who opined that Haryana state legislature had no jurisdiction to pass such a law.

"The state legislature is, therefore, denuded of any jurisdiction to pass any Bill in respect of which only Parliament has exclusive power to enact a law," the Attorney General said in his opinion to the Centre.

Punjab government has been maintaining that Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) -- which manages key Sikh shrines, was formed under the Central Gurdwara Act, 1925, during the British times and Haryana had no legal authority to enact a law for separate SGPC to manage gurdwaras in the state.

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