SGPC row: Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Act challenged in Supreme Court

SGPC row: Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Act challenged in Supreme Court

A member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court challenging constitutional validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014, under which a sererate committee was formed to manage the affairs of the Gurdwaras in the state.

The petitioner Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Haryana, contended that Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, says that the power to make law in respect of the SGPC as an inter-state body corporate has been reserved to the Central Government only and there is no provision in law for any bifurcation by enacting a state legislation.

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur, senior advocate Harish Salve urged the court to immediately intervene in the matter as the situation in Haryana has become volatile. The bench, however, asked him to mention the case before Chief Justice for early hearing.

The petition said the hasty enactment is not only against the constitutional provisions and the statutory provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act but is also divisive in its intention to create dissension amongst followers of 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 interstate body corporate under the law have not been complied with.

“It is important to note that mandate with regard to several actions including reservation of constituencies, constitution of Sikh Gurdwara Elections Tribunal and notification of Gurdwaras for bringing them within the provisions of Section 85 of the 1925 Act have been done by the Central Government,” the petition said.

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