Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras Act challenged in Supreme Court
A member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Act, 2014, under which a separate committee was formed to manage affairs of gurdwaras in the state.
The petitioner, Haryana resident Harbhajan Singh, contended that Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, said that the power to make law regarding the SGPC as an inter-state body corporate has been reserved to the central government only and there was no provision in law for any bifurcation by enacting a state legislation.
Appearing before a bench headed by justice TS Thakur, senior advocate Harish Salve urged the court to immediately intervene in the matter as the situation in Haryana had become volatile.
The bench, however, asked him to mention the case before the chief justice for an early hearing.
The petition said the hasty enactment was not only against constitutional provisions and statutory provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act but also divisive in its intention to create dissension among followers of the Sikh religion.
"Under the law, Haryana cannot legislate in respect of a subject where the field is already occupied by central legislation as the subject of religious institutions correlates to Entry 28 List III. The strict provisions with regard to the inter-state body corporate under the law have not been complied with.
"It is important to note that the mandate with regard to several actions, including reservation of constituencies, constitution of the Sikh Gurdwara Elections Tribunal and notification of gurdwaras for bringing them within provisions of Section 85 of the 1925 Act have been done by the central government," the petition said.
The petitioner sought the court's direction for quashing the Haryana act on the ground that it was ultra vires of the Constitution.