SC dismisses petitions challenging Gurudwara polls
The Supreme Court has dismissed petitions challenging the validity of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee polls held in December 2005 in which Harvinder Singh Sarna and Rajinder Singh Techno were elected as president and general secretary respectively.
A three-judge Bench headed by Justice KG Balakrishnan dismissed four petitions including the one by Avtar Singh Hit against a Delhi High Court Division Bench verdict allowing the rival camp's plea.
The HC Division Bench had on March 1 last allowed an appeal against a Single Judge's order to countermand the December 19, 2005 elections of the members of the Executive Board of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
The Division Bench also set aside the order to hold a fresh election on February 14, 2006.
Hit had moved the SC for quashing of the minutes of the December 19, 2005 meeting and sought fresh elections of the Executive Board. The last general elections were held on June 30, 2002.
He alleged that due to a particular communication issued by Sarna that the meeting shall be held on January 18, 2006, he got confused and could not contest the December 19, 2005 elections "though he was very much interested to contest the election for the post of the President."
However, the Bench, also comprising Justice GP Mathur and Justice RV Raveendran, dismissed the petitions, saying the dispute raised was purely factual in nature which could not be gone into in a writ petition.
"In view of the nature of the dispute raised the proper remedy for the petitioner was to file an election petition as provided in Section 31 of the Act (Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1971) where parties could have got opportunity to lead oral evidence," it said.
"We are, therefore, of the opinion that on the facts and circumstances of the present case, the writ petitions ought not to have been entertained for resolving the dispute relating to election and on this count alone the writ petitions were liable to be dismissed," it said.
The apex court also took note of the fact that the petitioners were seeking setting aside of the elections without making the newly elected office-bearers necessary parties to the petition.
The SC wondered how the HC Single Bench granted relief to the petitioners without impleading the newly elected office-bearers of the Committee as parties to the petition.