After the Centre amended the Sikh Gurdwara Act earlier this month, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) moved an application in the Supreme Court with a request to resume the house elected in 2011 for the next five years. The SGPC’s move, however, has irked Sikh bodies, which had supported the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) for the amendments.
The amendments now debar Sehajdhari Sikhs from the voting in the SGPC elections.
“SAD(B) knows that it has lost its ground among Sikhs. The success of Sarbat Khalsa was also a verdict of Sikhs against Badals. So now, they want to somehow escape the SGPC elections. They don’t want to get defeated in SGPC elections before 2017 assembly elections. They want to buy the time from Supreme Court by moving such applications. We will oppose it,” said Gurdeep Singh, United Akali Dal leader. “How can a House that was elected five years ago represent the sentiments of Sikh Sangat in the present time? Fresh SGPC elections are the need of the hour.” SC will hear the application of SGPC on July 7, 2016.
Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana HC had allowed the SGPC to hold elections in September 2011 with the condition that the outcome would be subjected to the HC verdict on petition filed by Paramjit Singh Ranu, who was demanding right to vote for Sehajdharis.
Results of 2011 polls had given the SAD and Sant Samaj alliance a majority, winning 157 out of 170 seats. The SGPC House, however, could not come into existence as, in 2011, the High Court quashed the Centre’s 2003 notification debarring Shejdharis from voting.
As part of temporary arrangement, High Court gave authority to SGPC’s 15 members executive committee from the previous house elected in 2004 to function till matter is decided in court. This arrangement exists till date. SAD (B) had majority in 2004 house and hence it has majority in executive committee, which is the decision-making body of SGPC at present.
Now this executive committee has asked Supreme Court to resume the house in which SAD has majority.
“Elected members didn’t get opportunity to function due to legal obstacles. Now with amendment in Sikh Gurudwara Act, the SGPC House should get its due period of five years to work,” said a SAD official.