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Supreme Court upholds validity of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Act

Supreme Court upholds validity of Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Act

The Supreme Court on September 20, 2022 upheld the constitutional validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014 under which a separate committee was formed to manage the affairs of gurdwaras in the state.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath dismissed the plea filed by a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee seeking quashing of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Act.

The top court’s judgement came on a 2014 plea filed by Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Haryana, who contended that Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 says the power to make law in respect of the SGPC as an inter-state body corporate has been reserved with the Central Government only and there is no provision in law for any bifurcation by enacting a State legislation.

The petition had said the hasty enactment is not only against the constitutional provisions and the statutory provisions of 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 had said.

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