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The Judgment: Gurleen Kaur v. The State of Punjab

Discussion in 'Sikh Youth' started by kds1980, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    The Judgment: Gurleen Kaur v. The State of Punjab
    by JASBIR SINGH SETHI

    The 154-page Judgment given on May 30, 2009 by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Case # CWP 14859 of 2008, titled Gurleen Kaur, et al vs. State of Punjab, et al is historic for Sikhs all over the world.

    The court held, inter alia - within the context of the fact situation put before it and based on the representations made to it by a plethora of interests - that " ... retaining hair unshorn is a fundamental tenet of the Sikh Religion..."

    First and foremost, we must remember that the Judgment, though a most important one which will undoubtedly have an impact on many day-to-day goings on in the temporal world, does not change anything within the realm of Sikhi as it has been enunciated by our Gurus or the way their teachings apply to us.

    Let us face it: this issue, though absolutely fundamental, was grossly mismanaged by all concerned, by the time it came to a head at the court hearing. It had become a "hot potato" in almost every Sikh household all over the world.

    In fact, the younger generation had come out in open revolt and the Sikh religious authorities, jathedars, scholars and parents had almost admitted defeat. Gurleen Kaur took the issue to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, at Chandigarh.

    The basic issue was: can a person trimming his/her hair still claim to be an observant Sikh? Gurleen was denied admission into Guru Ram Das Medical College, Amritsar, against a reserved quota for Sikhs. The grounds for the refusal were that she trimmed her eye-brows.

    Naturally, numerous parties got involved. To name but a few: The Shirimoni Gurdwara Prabhandhal Committee (SGPC), Amritsar; The Delhi Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee; the Government of the State of Punjab; the International Sehajdhari Association and, covertly, all kinds of sants, deras and ... political parties too.

    I urge all readers to envision the importance of this case.

    If the judgment had gone the opposite way, then Sikhs all over the world who are fighting legal battles for their right to keep unshorn hair and wear a turban - cases in USA, Canada, U.K. and many other countries around the world, over security regulations, job discrimination, hate crimes, and even kids in schools (France), etc. - all these fights would have been lost causes in fell swoop!

    The most disappointing performance was by the SGPC advocate(s). The Honourable judges are reported to have harshly rebuked them because of their lack of preparation.

    The court had invited scholars, learned elders and paracharaks. The judges commended the contribution of Mr. Anupam Gupta, Senior Standing Counsel for the Union Territory of Chandigarh, who with his relentless hard work dug through the literature from Macauliffe and Mcleod, historical rehat naamas, the current Rehatnama, the Punjab Gurdwara Act with its Amendments, the Delhi Gurdwara Act, the Sikh Ardaas, as well as the Guru Granth Sahib.

    Such a thorough comprehensive review is commendable.

    Needless to say, there were all kinds of overt and covert pressures on the parties. The Judges too recognized the tremendous emotional content and energy revolving around the case.

    The issues involved were multi-dimensional, and the court did not hesitate to draw on not only the judgments given in various courts all over India, but even internationally, including Kosovo and the Philippines!

    This is a monumental document - the 154-page Judgment. Besides being historic for Sikhs, it is a landmark legal document that sets the bar very high for the Indian Judicial System.

    It is unfortunate that Sikhs and their media have to date failed to fully explore and review its long-term and far-reaching implications.

    I would humbly like to make two suggestions to Sikhs around the world:

    A Every Sikh household in the world, every Sikh Gurdwara/ Library and institution must obtain a copy of of this document and keep a bound copy readily available for its members. Since we have failed miserably in giving proper answers to our younger generation, let them have, at the very least, access to the relevant information and documents.

    B Sikhs urgently need a credible forum where such significant and important, intricate and complicated issues affecting all Sikhs all over can be fully and properly addressed with the help of all the necessary objectivity, independence, research, scholarship, representation and advocacy.

    To review the complete judgment - and we recommend it - please click here:

    Kuar-v-Punjab-5-09@@AMEPARAM@@/docinfo/15971334?access_key=key-8wo3l0ryychyhy8dqpo@@AMEPARAM@@15971334@@AMEPARAM@@key-8wo3l0ryychyhy8dqpo

    June 25, 2009
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    The court had invited scholars, learned elders and paracharaks. The judges commended the contribution of Mr. Anupam Gupta, Senior Standing Counsel for the Union Territory of Chandigarh, who with his relentless hard work dug through the literature from Macauliffe and Mcleod, historical rehat naamas, the current Rehatnama, the Punjab Gurdwara Act with its Amendments, the Delhi Gurdwara Act, the Sikh Ardaas, as well as the Guru Granth Sahib.

    It would be a fine thing if we had a list all the documents and a summary of the substantive information for each document listed on hand for future discussions on SPN about keeping hair. It would be useful to point to the fact that the court accepted the credibility of the documents used by Mr. Anaupan Gupta (not a Sikh :confused: yet understanding the importance of the issue enough to do hard research and investigation to the satisfaction of the court). I think it would add some measure of objectivity to our discussions.
     
  4. Hardip Singh

    Hardip Singh India
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    From the text:-
    " The most disappointing performance was by the SGPC advocate(s). The Honourable judges are reported to have harshly rebuked them because of their lack of preparation.

    The court had invited scholars, learned elders and paracharaks. The judges commended the contribution of Mr. Anupam Gupta, Senior Standing Counsel for the Union Territory of Chandigarh, who with his relentless hard work dug through the literature from Macauliffe and Mcleod, historical rehat naamas, the current Rehatnama, the Punjab Gurdwara Act with its Amendments, the Delhi Gurdwara Act, the Sikh Ardaas, as well as the Guru Granth Sahib. "

    First of all SHAME SHAME to SGPC and the so called caretakers & controllers of our Sikhi and its institutions. I as a humble Sikh is highly obliged of Mr. Anupam Gupta, who beside being a Non-Sikh did all the efforts leading to this judgement. we must honour such personalities on our forums.
     
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