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HindustanTimes Sat,22 Nov 2014

Sabha's overseas units constituted 'illegal'

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, January 21, 2013
First Published: 10:59 IST(21/1/2013) | Last Updated: 11:01 IST(21/1/2013)

The then sabha president Kamaljeet Singh Hayre had unauthorisedly appointed scores of NRIs as chairmen and presidents of the overseas units constituted in the US and Canada.

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Though the Punjab government had claimed the sabha to be a non-governmental organisation while pleading its case before the union home ministry and the state information commission in the past, all appointments were made by Hayre allegedly on then Punjab NRI affairs Sewa Singh Sekhwan's recommendations.

The then minister did not have any authority to order such appointments since there is no such provision to appoint such office-bearers in foreign countries. Besides, no formal orders can be issued without obtaining former approval from the chairman.

Interestingly, the then president and then chairman had locked horns over the government's decision to delegate administrative and financial powers to the latter.

HT inquiries revealed that on May 10, 2010, Hayre appointed Jaswinder Singh and Master Mohinder Singh as chairman and president of New York City unit, respectively. Interestingly, the term of their office was not mentioned in appointment letters.

Similarly, Dr Jang Bahadur Singh Sidhu was made chairman of Calgary (Canada) unit for two years on September 15, 2010 while relieving Jagroop Singh Mukhmailpur of the charge. Two days later, Gurpreet Sidhu Rana was appointed as Calgary president for two years.

Gurbhalinder Singh Sandhu, a journalist, was made Alberta (Canada) unit chief for two years, relieving Jang Bahadur of the charge. Sabha's Edmonton unit got new chairman in Satwinder Singh Kahlon whereas Parduman Singh Gill was nominated as president for two years. 

The US unit got Jobanjit Singh and Jaspreet Singh as chairman and president respectively.

Though the then sabha chairman SR Ladhar had termed such appointments as a serious issue for being in violation of the sabha's constitution, the process to appoint NRIs as overseas unit office-bearers continued in other countries as well. Ladhar's probe into the issue did not yield results and such "illegally"-appointed office-bearers were still enjoying the posts.

What has not been done

Sabha's constitution mandates that there shall be elected or nominated overseas directors in different countries and the central sabha's executive shall recommend the names to the chairman for approval.

The central executive will then constitute 21-member international board of governors from among these overseas directors with the chairman's approval for a period co-terminus with the executive's tenure. The chief patron will appoint five NRI members to the board. It shall be necessary to convene one meeting every year in Punjab before the annual convention.

The sabha had not constituted such a board till date despite its formation nearly 16 years back. Besides, sabha failed to constitute the advisory board as mandated under the constitution.

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