Controversial High Court Gives Voting Rights To Sehajdharis In SGPC

High court gives voting rights to Sehajdharis in SGPC, Amarinder hails verdict
Punjab Newsline Network

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

By Bhupinder Kaur

CHANDIGARH:
The newly elected general house of SGPC suffered a major setback when Punjab and Haryana high court quashed the Centre’s notification which debarred Sehajdharis from voting in the SGPC polls. Accepting the plea moved by Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), challenging the Centre's October 8, 2003 notification depriving Sehajdharis of their voting rights in SGPC polls, the court held that the notification is "bad" under the law as it did not fall under the purview of Section 72 of Punjab Re-organisation Act.

The benchobserved in their 128 page verdict that the Centre's notification was tampering with the essential and basic character of Sikh Gurudwara Act of 1925. On September 18, elections to the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee(SGPC), known as mini-parliament of Sikhs, were held. Now, it is for the Election Commission to decide whether it goes for a fresh SGPC polls or continues with the body which got elected in 2005.

The quashing of Centre's notification will give the Sehajdharis voting rights in the SGPC polls, SSF chief Paramjeet Singh Ranu said. Paramjeet claimed that the entire process of SGPC polls recently held had no meaning now as the SSF had already moved the court against the Centre's notification prior the polls for the religious body were held. The petitioners had mainly challenged the Centre's notification "whereby Sehajdharis Sikhs are not being considered as Sikhs in view of the impugned amendment in Section 49 and Section 92 of the Gurudwara Act."

Meanwhile,Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday welcomed the High Court verdict on the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs setting aside the government of India notification of October 2003 debarring them from casting their votes in the elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Captain Amarinder maintained that it vindicated his stand that the Sehajdhari Sikhs had due right to vote in the SGPC elections as they very much belonged to the Sikh religion but had been denied the same in an arbitrary manner by the Akali Dal led by Parkash Singh Badal. He said, the then Bhartiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance government at the centre, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal was a constituent party, had got the arbitrary notification issued in 2003, at the behest of Badal, to keep away more than half of the Sikh voters from casting their votes in the SGPC elections.

The PCC President said that Badal using his relationship with the BJP leadership at the centre deliberately wanted to circumvent the process with an obvious intent of maintaining control over the SGPC and the subsequent control over the SGPC funds. He said that high court judgment will go a long way in preventing the misuse of political power that led to denial of voting rights to about 65 lakh Sehajdharis and other Sikhs.

source: http://www.punjabnewsline.com/conte...ehajdharis-sgpc-amarinder-hails-verdict/34654
 

Tejwant Singh

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It is sad to notice that being a Sikh has nothing to do with Sikhi now. Before it was to look/dress like one no matter what kind of evil anti- Gurmat behaviour one had. Now, one does not even need to dress like Sikh in order to pass the laws about Sikhi and allocate millions of dollars at will to their pet project that may or may not relate to Sikhi.

Do these Sehajdhari need to cover their heads while voting? Does anyone have the answer about it?

As, my esteemed friend and a great writer Dr. I.J. Singh questioned ourselves in one of his great essays that why do we need the courts to decide our Sikhi affairs?

Sikhi is the only religion that runs to the court because the honchos themselves are too corrupt and bent towards the political party that is ruling the land at that time. It is a shame indeed.

The answer lies in the corrupted Miri-Piri state of the Sikhs. Unfortunately, the wisdom offered in the SGGS, our only Guru, is totally ignored.

If the pillars are taken away, then the roof will come shattering on our heads.

Tejwant Singh
 
I would like to share a story here. A couple on months back on Bandi Chor Diwas when i went to a local Gurudwara in Gurgaon, I notices a big poster of Guru Hargobing sahib in which he seems to be escorting the kings out of prison.
Apparently this poster showed Guru ji without any facial hair and a Mughal style pagri on head.
My father and I went to the administrators to complain about it. Surprisingly they were reluctant to remove it and said said that one of the devotees have placed the poster so it must not be removed. Maybe one of the reason is that the Gurudwara is frequented by some Sehajdharis who do do a lot of sewa and can be seen there almost every day and the administrators wanted to respect there sentiments.

Eventually when I took out my phone to take a picture they came running and removed it before i could click.

I dont want to sound paranoid about sehajdharis but some of them want to twist the religion according to the way it suits them and the SGPC is letting them do it.
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
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Wow that's funny. I don't know if we are supposed to be afraid of Sehajdaris or not. I just know we cannot depend on SGPC etc. to preserve our religion. It only can be done through connection with Guru sahib and having access to authentic Sikh literature of Bhai Veer Singh ji etc. I don't even know if Sehajdharis are allowed to stand in SGPC elections?
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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Just about anyone can be a sehajdharee...think about that...so advani can be the next sgpc president...or Modi...or amitabh bachan..or even farouk khan bedi !!..and the Sirsa baba the next Akal takhat jathedar...coming SOON.
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
SPNer
Very good points have been posted by Tejwant Singh ji and searching ji.

We need to ask ourselves some fundamental questions with an eye towards what has been achieved to date by the model we have. One recent example of this was in the following post for Hondh Chillar,

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/1984/34554-1984-sikh-genocide-26-years-new-2.html#post142497

http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/1984/34554-1984-sikh-genocide-26-years-new-2.html#post142555
Apparently the timetable of expedited fact finding and action was 15 days. Have we held such speech makers accountable? The Akali Dal Party intertwined with SGPC is a farce. Perhaps one of the worst things to happen to Sikhs in Punjab?

They could not manage issues at Harmandir Sahib in 1984 and let the Indian Army destroy and damage. Harmandir Sahib is in the same locale where SGPC Headquarters are.
Now let us look at the body SGPC. Shiromni Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (Main Committee to manage the Affairs of Gurdwaras). How many Gurdwaras were destroyed/damaged in 1984. What were they managing?

Let us see what should be the core qualities of participants,

  • Independence of Political gamesmanship of Akali Party
  • Competence in Academic and necessary Management experience
  • Love of Sikhism displayed through actions, contributions and not just words
  • Preferred Baptized practicing Sikh
    • We need to be careful how much this is used to create discrimination against a large number of non-complete Sikhs. For example Sehajdhari or not fully compliant to SRM
    • SGPC coiffures do not discriminate between Sehajdhari $/Rupees and SRM compliant money
    • It perhaps is a a great Sikh student project to say do a study at Harmandir Sahib to see how much donations come from non SRM compliant but lovers of SIkhism.
      • I am 100% sure the results would surprise many
Sat Sri Akal.
 
Sehajdhari Sikhs want cancellation of SGPC poll

Chandigarh, Dec 21: A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a 2003 notification of the central government barring Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, an organisation of Sehajdhari Sikhs Wednesday sought cancellation of the SGPC polls held earlier this year.

The Sehajdhari Sikhs Foundation (SSF) leaders met the chairman of the Gurdwara Election Commission here Wednesday and submitted a memorandum seeking cancellation of the SGPC elections held in September.

The SSF also sought that the SGPC elections be held again in which Sehajdhari Sikhs should be allowed to vote.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the Gurdwara election commission today seeking that the SGPC polls be cancelled and that these should be held again in view of the latest judgment of the high court," federation president Paramjit Singh Ranu said here.

Sehajdhari Sikhs are those who cut or trim their beards and hair in violation of the Sikh religious tenets. Otherwise, such Sikhs follow the religion, its gurus and the Sikh holy book, Granth Sahib.

The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, a registered political party, had filed a petition before the high court seeking voting rights for such Sikhs in the SGPC polls.

The SGPC, an elected religious body of Sikhs for control and management of gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, has an annual budget of nearly Rs.600 crore.

The SGPC is completely dominated by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal party.

The notification barring non-baptised Sikhs from voting was passed in 2003 during the National Democratic Alliance regime following a resolution adopted by the SGPC March 30, 2002.

Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh said that the Sehajdhari Sikhs had due right to vote in the SGPC elections as they very much belonged to the Sikh religion. He said they were denied the right in an arbitrary manner by the Akali Dal led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance central government, of which the Shiromani Akali Dal was a constituent, had got the arbitrary notification issued in 2003 at the behest of Badal.

Radical Sikh organization Dal Khalsa Wednesday slammed politicians for creating unnecessary confusion over the definition of Sehajdhari, mixing it with patits (apostates) for vested interests.

Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the organization has clarified that apostates were not eligible to vote in the SGPC elections ever since the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 was enacted, whereas Sehajdharis were debarred in 2003 with a government notification.

He said the voting right to the Sehajdharis has been a major cause of concern for the community as Sikhs were of the considered opinion that no non-Sikh under any garb should be allowed to meddle or influence in their religious affairs. (IANS)

source: http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-131597.html
 

Tejwant Singh

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Writer
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A message from my friend Gurmit Singh of Australia:

Respected Sikh Cyber Members,
Waheguru jee ka Khalsa Waheguru jee kee Fateh
It is crystal clear that the current corrupt regime operating from Chandigarh and Amritsar both Political and Religious
have failed miserably in defending the basic tenets of Sikh religion. The Sikhs in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh
and UT Chandigarh must discard and remove them immediately.

However, desipte rescission of Notification No.936 dated 9 October 2003, following provisions still remain in vogue:

1. Have a look at the picture of Sehajdhari reproduced at page 693 in Mahan Kosh (in Punjabi) (Encyclopaedia of
Sikh Literature) by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, originally published in 1930, which shows that the person known
as Sehajdhari Sikh has to be in Sikhie Saroop having uncut hair, beard, moustaches.

2. Entry "Sahajdhari" at pages 13-14 of The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, Volume Four, published by Punjabi Uni.
Patiala in 1998 prior to said Notification of 2003, states that after the partition of 1947, there was hardly any
Sehajdhari.

3. In The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925, Section 2 pertaining to "Definitions" was amended in 1944 and 1959 by inserting
sub-sections (10-A) and (11) which describe:
[10-A] 'Sahjdhari Sikh' means a person -
(i) who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites;
(ii) who does not use tobacco or Kutha (Halal meat) in any form;
(iii) who is not a Patit; and
(iv) who can recite Mul Manter.]
[11] "Patit" means a person who being a keshadhari Sikh trims or shaves his beard or keshas or who after
taking amrit commits any one or more of the four kurahits].

In the light of above facts, SGPC must lodge Appeal before the Supreme Court of India so that any Patit is not
to cast his/her vote under the guise of Sahjdhari despite being Mona. The person has to be Keshadhari Sikh as
per his/her Declaration in Form I and Form I A prescribed in The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925, as amended.

Gurmit Singh (Sydney - Australia)
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
SPNer
I fail to understand something. Tejwant Singh ji flagged earlier in this thread,

Sikhi is the only religion that runs to the court because the honchos themselves are too corrupt and bent towards the political party that is ruling the land at that time. It is a shame indeed.

Gurmit singh ji says,
In the light of above facts, SGPC must lodge Appeal before the Supreme Court of India so that any Patit is not

to cast his/her vote under the guise of Sahjdhari despite being Mona. The person has to be Keshadhari Sikh as
per his/her Declaration in Form I and Form I A prescribed in The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925, as amended.
Why not just get the politics out of Sikhism matters of religion and ask for repeal of The Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925.

It was done by the British, one assumes not to benefit the Sikhs?

Are there,

Hindu Mandir Act xxxx
or
Muslim Masjid Act xxxx
or
Christian Church Act xxxx

If not it must say something about us.

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
I guess Sikh Gurudwara act was important for us in getting the Gurudwaras back from Mahants in early 1920's. The whole problem is that Sehajdhari Sikh means a Keshdhari one, not a patit. And people are fighting for that. All this is not for a sense of belonging, just political mayhem.
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
SPNer
I guess Sikh Gurudwara act was important for us in getting the Gurudwaras back from Mahants in early 1920's. The whole problem is that Sehajdhari Sikh means a Keshdhari one, not a patit. And people are fighting for that. All this is not for a sense of belonging, just political mayhem.
Kanwaljit Singh ji what happened to the Mahants! Are they still around! winkingmunda
Now we will post "Patit Detectors" outside burger and meat joints to see that they have not served "Kutha Meat".

Now in Delhi Gurdwara Act they have requirement on Alcohol vs. Kutha, as far as I know. Wonderful!

If Sikhism loses the Honour System it loses a lot more. On the one hand we praise Sikhism as "Sikh" is a "Learner" and "Learning is Life Long". Then we start doing the exclusion stuff, very mixed up.

Sat Sri Akal.
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
I think the question here is more of learning vs commitment.

And if exclusion stuff is against principles, then the whole human race should be allowed to vote. The fundamental question is do we choose our leaders by voting for people we have never met, or following those who lead by example?

I am in a way happy that there is one SGPC 'managing' most of the Gurudwaras, but it is not effective. Which is why we also have the dera problems. In trying to piece it all together, we are ending up with pieces which don't fit with each other. And no one passes the litmus test (kasauti) of Guru Granth Sahib as a Sikh either.
 

Tejwant Singh

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I guess Sikh Gurudwara act was important for us in getting the Gurudwaras back from Mahants in early 1920's. The whole problem is that Sehajdhari Sikh means a Keshdhari one, not a patit. And people are fighting for that. All this is not for a sense of belonging, just political mayhem.

Kanwaljit Singh ji,

Guru Fateh.

The word Sehajdhari is only used for mona Sikhs or those who trim their beards. All the others who have not taken Khandei di Pahul are known as Keshadhari Sikhs.

Now, to your other point, who is a patit and who is not, one needs some "Moral Police" like they have in Saudi Arabia.

People fail to understand that to be a Patit starts in the Mann of a person, long before any action takes place in Sikhi. That is why our Gurus talk so much about making our Mann non-patit in Gurbani.

So, here the fight is between the monas and the keshadharis.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
 
Will challenge HC verdict: Makkar

Perneet Singh/TNS
Amritsar, December 21

A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court restored voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said they would not let the verdict go unchallenged while reiterating that the judgment would have no impact on the newly constituted SGPC House.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Makkar claimed “the court didn’t go into the details as to who was a Sehajdhari Sikh and merely passed its order on the notification barring Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in the SGPC elections”. “The court has termed the notification invalid and has only given the legal point of view in the verdict,” he said.

Makkar sounded confident that there would be no glitch in the functioning of the new SGPC House, stating that the notification regarding the election of new members had already been issued and co-option had also taken place. He said they were consulting legal experts to decide their future course of action in connection with yesterday’s HC judgment. He hoped the co-option of 15 members would be notified soon, following which another meeting of the new SGPC House would be called to elect the office-bearers. He said once the new office-bearers were elected, they would make efforts to get the necessary amendment made in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, to bar Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in the SGPC elections.

Meanwhile, the HC verdict has prompted various Sikh intellectuals to say that the concept of Sehajdhari Sikhs was being misinterpreted. Noted Sikh scholar Bhai Ashok Singh Bagaria said a person who was born in a Sikh family could not call himself Sehajdhari.

Former SGPC general secretary Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, in whose tenure the notification barring Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in SGPC elections was issued, said, “A Sehajdhari Sikh is the one who follows basic Sikh tenets, one of which is keeping “kesh” (hair). Those who are born in Sikh families but have trimmed their hair cannot be termed as Sehajdhari. For the individuals born in Sikh families, the next step should be to get baptised and not shear one’s hair.” She said a Sehajdhari Sikh was expected to show minimum commitment towards Sikhism, which is to have a “sabat surat saroop”.

Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa leader Kanwarpal Singh claimed Sehajdharis were non-Sikhs and, therefore, describing them as part of Sikhism was untrue. He slammed politicians, including former CM Captain Amarinder Singh, for creating unnecessary confusion over the definition of Sehajdhari and mixing it with “patits” (apostates) for vested interests. He said the apostates were not eligible to vote in the SGPC elections ever since the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, was enacted, whereas Sehajdharis were debarred in 2003 with a government notification.

source: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111222/punjab.htm#11
 
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