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SGPC-run university allows last-minute name change to add ‘Singh/Kaur’ for Sikh quota seats

Every Sikh student must also give in written that "I have the word 'Singh' or 'Kaur' affixed to my name”.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | Updated: November 19, 2020 8:59:37 am
The SGPC headquarters. (Express Photo/File)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run Sri Guru Ramdas University of Health Sciences Amritsar has said it has no objection to last-minute name changes by candidates to be eligible for the MBBS seat under Sikh minority quota.

The university has 75 minority quota seats for which only Sikh students can apply. However, the list of candidates uploaded by Baba Farid University of Health and Sciences (BFUHS) Faridkot for the Sikh minority quota had at least eight such names which were not affixed with ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’.

To claim the seats under minority quota, Sikh students have to submit an affidavit which reads, “That I am Sikh and belong to the Sikh community. I practise the Sikh faith, maintain Sikh appearance and do not cut or trim my hair; including hair on my eyebrows. I have faith only in the ten Sikh gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib and do not owe allegiance to any other sect or religion.”

A candidate must also declare further that “I shall continue maintaining the Sikh appearance during the course of my studies and thereafter”.

Every Sikh student must also give in written that “I have the word ‘Singh’ or ‘Kaur’ affixed to my name”.

However, sources said some students who sat for the NEET test without Singh or Kaur affixed to their name have changed their name before applying under minority quota.

Also read | Explained: The 100-year journey of SGPC, ‘mother of SAD’

Dr A P Singh, dean, Sri Guru Ramdas University, said, “We only shortlist those candidates who are Sikhs with Singh or Kaur affixed to their names. Constitution has given right to candidates to change their names and they have to do it before applying for the minority quota seat. There are names in the uploaded on BFUHS website are under which candidate appeared in National Eligibility and Entrance Test.

Students change their name by giving an advertisement in the newspaper. All those students who issued this advertisement before November 1, 2020, are eligible for seat under minority quota

He said, “Condition of Singh or Kaur as affix is not imposed by our institution. It is the condition put by Punjab government for Sikh minority quota. This practice of changing name after NEET test and before applying under minority quota for getting admission is not new. It is going on since 2003. Nobody has challenged it in court. It can’t be challenged because it is a constitutional right of everyone to change their name.”

He said, “Sometimes parents unintentionally make mistakes of not affixing Singh or Kaur on legal documents. So changing name is the constitutional right of students. Unshorn hairs are personal rights of candidates and so we do videography of every candidate. Every year some students with shorn hairs try to create trouble claiming that they have uncut hairs. It is the reason that we do videography. But changing name is a constitutional right.

Lok Insaf Bhalai party president Baldev Singh Sirsa claimed that the provision to change the name is scandalous

“It is wrong both technically and ethically. A student should be considered for minority quota as per their NEET exam name. It is very simple. If students are changing names and they are allowed to change names after NEET test then it is very clear that they are not doing it due to their religious beliefs but only to take admission in MBBS under minority quota. It defies the purpose of quota. It is also injustice with those students who don’t know this name changing technicality to claim seat under minority quota. This is like making a joke of the minority quota system,” said Baldev Singh

“Anyone who has objection can go to court. We believe changing name is a constitutional right,” said Dr A P Singh.

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