SC reinstates SGPC house elected in 2011 | punjab | Hindustan Times
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SC reinstates SGPC house elected in 2011

punjab Updated: Sep 16, 2016 09:48 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Supreme Court

“With the SC decision, the Sehajdhari Sikhs have been barred from voting in the committee polls, and the elected house of SGPC that was constituted in December 2011 has become functional again,” SGPC advocate Satinder Singh Gulati told HT. (HT File )

The Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the 170-member general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elected in 2011. The court also disposed of a petition by the gurdwara panel over Sehajdhari Sikhs’ right to vote in SGPC elections as the case had become irrelevant following an amendment to the Sikh Gurdwaras Act-1925.

Must read | HT Explainer: What’s behind excluding Sehajdharis from Sikh body polls?

“With the SC decision, the Sehajdhari Sikhs have been barred from voting in the committee polls, and the elected house of SGPC that was constituted in December 2011 has become functional again,” SGPC advocate Satinder Singh Gulati told HT. The amendment from the retrospective effect would also make the 2011 SGPC elections legally valid. The Shiromani Akali Dal which controls the SGPC — the mini-parliament of Sikhs — is behind the amendment to the Act. Now as per the provisions of the Act, the Centre will hold the elections for office-bearers of the SGPC, which will elect the 15-member executive committee. This committee will further elect president and other office-bearers. The process to elect new office-bearers will begin soon, said SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh.

In 2003,the Union home ministry had amended the 1925 Act by way of a notification which was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana high court after a petition by Sehajdharis in 2011, saying that the procedure laid in the Act was not followed.

Correcting its course, and following the procedure of the 1925 ACT, the Union cabinet passed the amendment in March this year. Later, it was cleared by both the Houses of Parliament.

The orders came at the time when the polls to elect 170 members of the SGPC general house had just got over and members were notified.

The SGPC moved the SC challenging the 2011 judgment by the HC restoring Sehajdharis’ right to vote. In a temporary relief, the apex court had ordered that the executive body of the SGPC --- functional before 2011 polls --- would continue to run day-to-day affairs.

The move will help the SAD woo back Panthic voters, who were feeling alienated after a series of sacrilege incidents. It may also lead to removal of current SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

Sehajdhari issue

1) The court also disposed of a petition by the gurdwara panel over Sehajdhari Sikhs’ right to vote in SGPC elections as the case had become irrelevant following an amendment to the Sikh Gurdwaras Act-1925.

2) With the SC decision, the Sehajdhari Sikhs have been barred from voting in the committee polls, and the elected house of SGPC that was constituted in December 2011 has become functional again,SGPC advocate Satinder Singh Gulati told HT.