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Controversial B.C. Court Order Puts Sikh Temple Election In Limbo

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
B.C. court order puts Sikh temple election in limbo

The Canadian Press

Updated: Wed. Sep. 1 2010 5:24 PM ET

Thousands of memberships at one of British Columbia's oldest Sikh temples have been invalidated after a court ruling, putting an upcoming election in limbo.

The B.C. Supreme Court order involving the Ross Street Gurdwara comes after unproven allegations that the membership process involving about 6,000 people was flawed.

Kesar Bhatti, senior vice-president of the Khalsa Diwan Society, which runs the temple, says four recent members made the unfounded and troubling allegations to the court.

He says the complainants are part of an effort by so-called fundamentalists to take over the temple that's been operated by the society since 1906.

Bhatti says a count of membership forms merely revealed that about five of them were unsigned and about 30 were duplicates, something that would have been picked up when the information was put into a computer.

Amarjit Sandhu, who is among the four people who launched the legal action, did not return calls for an interview.

source: http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100901/bc_sikh_temple_election_100901/20100901?hub=BritishColumbiaHome
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sikh youth group applauds judge's decision to cancel temple elections

By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun - September 2, 2010

The B.C. Supreme Court has cancelled the proposed November elections at the Ross Street Gurdwara and has cancelled all temple memberships issued since the last election two years ago.

The oral decision by Justice Paul Walker was given earlier this week following an action launched by Sikh Youth Vancouver, which claimed the registration process by which members are allowed to vote was neither fair nor transparent.

Members of Sikh Youth Vancouver complained that they were unable to obtain registration forms for their supporters.

The Sikh temple -- the largest gurdwara outside India -- is controlled by members of the Khalsa Diwan Society.

Walker asked both sides to return to the court once they had agreed on an independent returning officer who would oversee registrations and the election itself.

Senior temple vice-president Kesar Singh Bhatti said he was baffled by the judge's decision. He said the rules for the election were being followed.

"We accept membership according to the bylaws. The judge didn't listen to any of our arguments," Bhatti said.

He said the ruling disrupts plans for the election, which is usually held in the first week of November with candidates seeking election being nominated in October. Membership applications close Sunday, he said.

"It's a total mess," Bhatti said.

The ruling was applauded by Sikh
Youth Vancouver member Jatinder Singh who said it would allow a "fair and transparent election to take place."

"The ruling will allow an opposition slate and a fair and transparent membership drive," Singh said.

He said the temple's current leadership controlled the issuance of membership forms and had refused to give any to Sikh Youth Vancouver.

It was this refusal that led to the court action, Singh said.

He described Sikh Youth Vancouver as a progressive organization seeking a way for Sikhs to be integrated in the greater community.

He said they have no religious differences with the Khalsa Diwan Society but a difference in philosophy.

According to its website, Sikh Youth Vancouver supports campaigns to help the city's homeless, supports services to women victimized by domestic abuse and assists young women who "have fallen prey to fraudulent marriages -- a growing social epidemic."


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun



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