For the first time in the history of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), it was the executive committee and not the general house, which put its stamp of approval on the budgetary expenditure of the religious body for the first quarter of the new financial year.
Having missed the March 31 deadline for passing the budget for 2012-13 owing to legal tangles, the SGPC executive met at its headquarters in the Golden Temple complex here on Tuesday to approve an expenditure of Rs 221.82 crore for the first quarter ending June 30.
The executive meeting, which was presided over by SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, approved the expenditure by voice vote.
Normally the budget session meeting of the general house is held around March 30. "We are abiding by the directions of the Supreme Court which has given its consent to the office-bearers and 11-member executive elected in November 2010 to continue working till July 26, that is the next date of hearing of the SGPC petition pending in the apex court," said Makkar while talking to the media after the executive meeting.
In the usual course, elections of the office-bearers and the executive takes place every year in the month of November. However last year, these could not be held as the union home ministry had not notified the constitution of the new general house following the September polls.
After the Punjab and Haryana high court quashed the 2003 notification of the union home ministry debarring Sehajdharis (Sikhs without unshorn hair) from voting in the SGPC general polls, the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation filed a petition challenging the validity of the SGPC polls held in September last year.
Meanwhile, the SGPC moved the apex court regarding the validity of the SGPC elections held in September 2011 in which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won a thumping victory.
The apex court gave temporary relief to the SGPC on March 30 allowing the November 2010 office-bearers and executive to continue working till the next date of hearing, which is July 26, and also gave permission for clearing the budgetary expenditure for the first quarter.
Though the expenditure to be incurred for the first quarter was granted approval, budgetary proposals amounting to an estimated Rs 665.46 crore for the entire 2012-13 fiscal year was moved in the executive meeting by SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and secretary Dalmegh Singh.
These proposals will be put forth in the general house only after the verdict in the case comes from the Supreme Court.