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Plea Against Voting Rights Of Sehajdhari Sikhs

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Plea against voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs dismissed

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/plea-against-voting-rights-of-sehajdhari-sikhs-dismissed/article5402543.ece

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed a petition to debar the Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kaul, dismissed the petition filed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), going by a full Bench judgement of 2011, which quashed a notification issued by the Union government.

In 2003, the NDA government at the Centre debarred the Sehajdhari Sikhs (or non-baptised Sikhs) from contesting SGPC elections. The decision was challenged by the Sehajdhari Sikh Party (SSP), which maintains that since most of the Sikhs in Punjab came under this category, they should not be discriminated against. But even before that, in 2001, the SAD (Mann) opposed their participation in SGPC elections.

In 2011, the SSP produced figures to show that 66 lakh voters out of the 1.75 crore Sikhs in Punjab were declared non-Sikhs and prevented from voting in SGPC elections.

When the case was pending, two elections were held to the SGPC. The September 2011 elections were nullified, and the SGPC could not hold its first meeting, because the board was notified, subject to the outcome of the writ, which had become infractuous after the judgment.

The SGPC filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, where no interim stay was granted on the verdict of the High Court. But an interim arrangement was made, with the court passing an agreed order, allowing the old executive committee of 15 members to function.

SSP president Paramjeet Singh Ranu said here on Thursday that an appeal against this was pending in the Supreme Court. Welcoming the High Court’s judgment, he said: “This is an attempt to divide the minorities into sub-groups and create tensions among them.”
 

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