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Haryana Gurdwara panel flows from Reorganisation Act: Bajwa

Chandigarh: The Punjab Congress President, Mr. Partap Singh Bajwa, today trashed the argument extended by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President, Mr. Avtar Singh Makkar that the demand for a separate Haryana Gurdwara management committee was illegal. In a statement, he advised Mr. Makkar to read carefully Section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966 under which Haryana had been created to meet the Akali Dal demand of a Punjabi speaking state from which this demand flows. The Section 72(1) states: “ Save as otherwise expressly provided by the foregoing provisions of this Part, where any body corporate constituted under a Central Act, State Act or Provincial Act for the existing State of Punjab or any part thereof serves the needs of the successor States or has, by virtue of the provisions of Part II, become an inter-State body corporate, then, the body corporate shall, on and from the appointed day, continue to function and operate in those areas in respect of which it was functioning and operating immediately before that day, subject to such directions as may from time to time be issued by the Central Government, until other provisions is made by law in respect of the said body corporate”. He said Section 72(3) had made it very clear that this provision was applicable to the “Board constituted under Part III of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 (Punjab Act 8 of 1925)”. The PPCC chief reminded Mr. Makkar that neither the Akali Dal nor the SGPC had objected when 30 seats in the general house of the SGPC were reserved for women by creating double seats through an executive order whereas the resolution for this purpose should first have been adopted by the general house of this body and the recommendation sent to the centre for implementation in accordance with the provisions of the Master Tara Singh-Nehru Pact. He said such provisions were added to the functioning of this body on several occasion by adopting the same procedure. As per the procedure laid down, 30 seats should have been reserved by amending the Sikh Gurdwara Act in the Parliament. He said this power vested with the Parliament after the SGPC become body corporate with jurisdiction in three states although it had been created by an Act of the Punjab Assembly. He said moreover, the demand for a separate Gurdwara for their states had been made by the Sikhs in Haryana and it had nothing to do with the Congress. This demand stemmed from the discrimination meted out to the community in the neighbouring states who have developed the perception that they were being discriminated against by way of not giving them adequate role in the management of the shrines in that state. “The Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and Mr. Makkar must share the blame for the situation which would not have arisen in case they had got enacted the All India Gurdwara legislation which had been the long pending demand of the Akali Dal. Would they like to tell the Sikhs as to what happened to the two drafts of this proposed legislation, the latest dating back to 2000, which were sent by the Home ministry for comments?”, he asked. He charged Mr. Badal with backtracking from this demand as the all India Gurdwara committee would have ended the monopoly of the Akali Dal on the religio-political affairs of the Sikhs. He said the hue and cry being raised by Mr. badal and Mr. Makkar was politically motivated. Haryana Sikhs must get their rights, he added.
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