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Sikh News Jagir Kaur Expelled From SGPC (Outlook India)

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Bibi Jagir Kaur disqualified as SGPC chief

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 19
In a landmark order, first such decision after the enactment of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today disqualified Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC chief for five years.

The order was pronounced here by the three-member SGJC panel comprising, Mr Kashmir Singh Patti (president), Mr Ajwant Singh Mann and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa (both members).

Passing the decree with costs, the SGJC ordered Bibi Jagir Kaur to deposit Rs 2.55 crore in the SGPC funds along with 9 per cent per annum interest from the date of filing the petition till its realisation. The order reads, “she is removed from the membership of SGPC and consequently from its presidentship. She is further disqualified to become member of the SGPC or its executive body for the period of five years”.

The order has been pronounced on the basis of a petition filed by Mr Narinderpal Singh, a resident of Loharrian village (Ludhiana) who had challenged the non-realisation of the huge fees outstanding against the wards of senior Akali /SGPC leaders and VVIPs who had taken admission in the MBBS course in the SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Science and Research under the NRI quota (payment). The petition was filed on August 1, 2002.

However, the SGJC has absolved other respondents in the petition, including Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Mr Harbeant Singh and Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan of the charges. The order reads, “in the light of our findings on the issue , the case against other respondents is not proved, as such, the same is dismissed”.

The issue of outstanding amount against students who got admission under the NRI quota had become an election issue during the last general election of the SGPC. Panthic Morcha had given a call to defeat SAD candidates for having failed to recover the outstanding amount from the wards of senior Akali leaders even as the funds were collected from the offerings in the SGPC-run gurdwaras.

Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Akal Takht Jathedar, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, president, All-India Shiromani Akali Dal and Bhai Ram Singh, secretary general, SAD (Amritsar) have asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president SAD and Bibi Jagir Kaur to quit politics in the wake of the order.

However, Bibi Jagir Kaur said she would comment on the order after getting a copy of the same. However, Prof H.S. Bolina, a close confidant of the SGPC chief alleged the ‘SGJC was biased’. Earlier, Bibi Jagir Kaur had openly challenged the jurisdiction of SGJC when she was directed to remove Mr Dalmegh Singh as secretary SGPC in a case.

Challenging the locus standi of the petitioner, the SGPC claimed that the shiromani committee and its trust which runs a medical college were separate entities and hence Bibi Jagir Kaur or other office-bearers could not be blamed for the non-realisation of the fee from the defaulters. However, the petitioner claimed that the SGPC had been funding the medical college and could not be considered a separate entity.

The petitioner also challenged reducing of the fee of the wards of VIPs, including those of senior Akali leaders.

The petitioner said that vide a resolution on March 29, 2002, it was passed that fee from all students admitted under the payment scheme be recovered as per the norms, as per fee payable decided at the time of admission. However, the petitioner alleged that the outstanding amount had not be realised so far. The petitioner alleged that the respondents had committed acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, a breach of the trust, neglect of duty, abuse of power by not collecting outstanding fee and reducing the fee in certain cases.