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India Sehajdhari Voting Rights: HC Summons MHA Records

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sehajdhari voting rights: HC summons MHA records

TNN | Sep 23, 2011, 06.55AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Taking up the plea of Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, seeking directions to quash the notification through which their right to vote in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls was withdrawn, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday asked the Union home ministry to produce the entire records, on the basis of which the impugned notification was issued in 2003.

Justice Surya Kant of the HC asked Union home ministry's counsel on Monday to come up with entire records pertaining to the notification including any resolution, communication, etc., from state, following which it issued the notification on October 8, 2003. He also asked it produce records of parliamentary debates, especially in reference to section 72 of the States Reorganization Act, 1966.

The directions were made by a full bench comprising justices Surya Kant, M M S Bedi and Mutacci Jayapaul. Directions were also issued by the bench that a deputy secretary-rank senior officer of the Union home ministry be present on Monday before the court, along with the said records, who should be able to answer the queries of the bench on the issue.

The matter would come up for further hearing on Monday.

Earlier, the case was heard by a full bench comprising justices M M Kumar, Alok Singh and Gurdev Singh, which had on Tuesday recused itself from the case after a controversial statement by a senior advocate, Harbhagwan Singh, led the bench to pass an order on September 1 in the case. However, the order was recalled later.

The matter had reached the high court after a bunch of petitions filed by Sehajdhari Sikh Federation and others, challenging the action of the Union government and other respondents, whereby Sehajdhari Sikhs were not being considered as Sikhs in view of the impugned amended sections 49 and 92 of the Gurdwara Act. The said amendments were made in October 2003 by the then NDA government just before the 2004 SGPC elections.

The petitioners have submitted that the original Act declared Sahjdhari Sikhs as qualified electors for SGPC elections and the apex court had, in numerous judgments, held that the state cannot regulate the definition of religion.

: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-summons-MHA-records/articleshow/10086506.cms
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Delay in SGPC poll results raises eyebrows .

Daily Pioneer - Saturday, 24 September 2011 01:33 Monika | Chandigarh ..

Delay and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections seem to be synonymous!

After more than a two-year delay in conducting the SGPC elections, and the issue of voting rights to the Sehajdhari Sikhs lingering in the corridors of justice, the Gurdwara Elections Commission (GEC) is now dilly-dallying in officially declaring the SGPC results.

As per the notification issued by the Commission, the results are to be declared on September 22, four days after the elections were held on September 18. But, now five days have lapsed, the Commission has not yet received the final result reports from all the constituencies by the concerned Presiding Officers, while the same were prepared on the same day the elections were held.

Till the filing of the report, a senior official at the Commission’s office stated that to date the list of around 70 seats had been received and the rest were still awaited.

The elections on September 18 took place after a two-year delay. Instead of a five-year term, the current SGPC general body has served seven years in office after being elected in 2004.

Apart from that, the petition filed in 2004 on voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs is still in the courts, facing one or another adjournment. It may now finally be decided after the intervention of the Apex Court which directed the Punjab and Haryana High Court to decide the matter within a month’s time.

Marred by one delay after another, the SGPC cannot even constitute its ‘new’ general body and elect a new president till the election results are notified by the Commission.

Evading the reasons of delay, the officials at the Commission are claiming that the same delay also happened after the 2004 elections.

However, political analysts sense some lacuna in the delay. “It may be possible that the Commission has not yet got the directions from the Centre to release the results, and they might be indulging in delaying tactics as they want to see the High Court’s decision in the matter that is coming up for hearing on September 26,” said a senior Akali leader, requesting anonymity.

On the other hand, a senior Dal Khalsa leader told The Pioneer, “It may be possible that the SAD does not want the detailed results to come out as the winning margin is quite low as compared to the “big victory” projected by the Akalis. The narrow winning margins may give them some uncomfortable moments.”

While the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections retired Justice HS Brar was unavailable for comment, the officials available refused to volunteer answers over the reasons for delay in result announcement.

source: http://dailypioneer.com/nation/8780-delay-in-sgpc-poll-results-raises-eyebrows.html