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India Gurdwara Panel Orders Probe Into Voting By Sehajdharis

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Gurdwara panel orders probe into voting by Sehajdharis

Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Gurdwara Election Commission has ordered a probe into the cases of alleged bogus voting and voting by Sehajdharis in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections held on Sunday. Justice HS Brar (retd), Chief Commissioner of the Gurdwara Election Commission, has asked all Commissioners, who oversaw the election process, to investigate and submit a report immediately.

Justice Brar told The Tribune that the commission had taken a very serious view of the reported poll violations, but action could only be taken after violations were established. The commission had issued a clear directive that only Keshdhari Sikhs were allowed to cast their votes. The polling officials had been given the right to physically verify that all voters were Keshdharis.

The Chief Commissioner said once it was established that the orders of the commission had been violated, strictest of punishment would be imposed upon the erring officials, irrespective of their stature and rank. “Our orders were clear and these were violated, none responsible for it would be spared”, Justice Brar said.

In a letter sent out to all Commissioners last evening, it has been stated: “The Gurdwara Election Commission had issued directions to officers, including the presiding officers, and had also issued press notes to the effect that only Keshadhari Sikhs be allowed to cast their votes. The orders were reiterated in letters dated August 26, September 7 and again on September 16. Yet there are news reports in some daily newspapers (cuttings enclosed) reporting that non-Keshadhari Sikhs have also caste their votes”.

Further the commission has said, “If it is so then immediate appropriate action is required to be taken at your end. Also, action be taken against the delinquent officials and officers who have gone against the directions of the commission. Immediate report on the matter be sent to this commission”.

Justice Brar said the entire polling process had been videographed by the candidates. Once the commission received complaints from the candidates and aggrieved parties, the entire evidence would be evaluated and strict action would be taken under various provisions of the law available with the commission. “I have asked for an immediate report which I expect should come within the next one or two days”.

He further said not many complaints had been received by his office. “Only two or three complaints of minor nature have been received which are being looked into”.

Meanwhile, it is learnt from sources that the Union Home Ministry has asked the commission to send a “factual report” about media reports. When asked about it, Justice Brar said it was an ongoing process to brief the Centre.

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
No re-polling, despite violations: Justice Brar

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 23:45 Monika | Chandigarh

Even as the voters in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls exercised their franchise amidst violence, booth-capturing and bogus voting, the Gurdwara Elections Commission on Tuesday ruled out any possibility of re-polling.

Though the Commission has accepted that incidents of booth-capturing, fake voting and violence in couple of constituencies had taken place, it is still awaiting reports from the officials concerned before taking any step in that regard.

“We have received reports from almost all the poll observers from all constituencies in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. There are reports of violations, booth-capturing etc in Muktsar district at four polling stations — two each in two of its constituencies,” Chief Commissioner Gurdwara Elections, retired Justice Harphool Singh Brar told The Pioneer.

During polling on Sunday, the incidents of firing and booth capturing in Karaiwala village in Gidderbaha constituency, leaving one person injured, and booth capturing in Buttar Shrin village of Doda constituency were reported.

Quoting the rules, Justice Brar made it clear that the Rule 48 of the Sikh Gurdwara Board Election Rules, 1959, clearly stated that the re-polling can be done when the winning margin is around 1,000 to 1,500. “In case the difference is above that, re-polling cannot be conducted,” he said, categorically adding that the polls would not be conducted anywhere as the reports received by the poll observers stated that the wining margin is far above.

Rubbishing allegations that the Commission had kept mum despite reports regarding large-scale violations of election rules, the Chief Commissioner clarified that the Commission has taken serious view of all the incidents and the media reports.

“After going through the media reports, television clippings, we have shot off a communication to the Punjab Commissioner Gurdwara Elections the very next day of the polls and asked him to submit an immediate report on the issue,” said Justice Brar, adding that no reply has yet been received from the State.

In addition, the Commissioner has also been asked to take “appropriate or immediate action”, not only against the violators, candidates or parties, but also against the “delinquent officials who have gone against the directions, orders or instructions of the Gurdwara Elections Commission”, despite issuance of directions, instructions over the same to all the officers concerned including the presiding officers.

Refusing to come out with a categorical stand on the “fairness” of the elections process, Justice Brar simply brushed aside the issue by saying, “We are taking stock of the situation.”

“We have asked for the reports and will say anything only after receiving the same. I have done my best to ensure that election process go smooth and be conducted in a fair manner,” said Justice Brar.

Also hinting at the allegations of his inclination towards the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Badals, Justice Brar said, “I am accountable to the Centre, and not in favour of anyone. I am giving day-to-day details to the Centre as it is the part of my duty.”

Justice Brar has been facing allegations of being a “SAD man”, with his detractors claiming that he has taken favour from the Akalis for the appointment of his daughter, Anu Pal Brar, as an Assistant Advocate General of Punjab.

The election results, he said, would be announced on Thursday, and the Commission will receive results from the district offices on the same day.

: http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-e...-polling-despite-violations-justice-brar.html



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