Some Sikhs are for separate Sikh body for Haryana while some are opposing, both unmindful of the fact that the Sikh body Shromani Gurdwara Parbandik Committee (SGPC ) has been rendered powerless. Few know that it is no longer a democratic body and that its last elections took place in Sept. 2011 and that the elected members have not been allowed to function. Since SGPC is a constitutional body which came into existence through an act and a conspiracy was hatched by vested interests and a writ filed in High court and later in Supreme Court wherein it was sought that the elected body be not allowed to function. Since the SGPC is already under Govt control, no one properly defended the case and a stay was granted which sought banning of the elected members to function.
So the real issue is independence of the SGPC while the Haryana SGPC is a secondary issue. But unfortunately no Sikh has seriously taken note of the Govt usurping SGPC. The root cause of  this Sikh silence is that P.S.Badal has an unholy understanding with the Govt who it seems has given free hand to Centre and in return Badal is allowed control of SGPC.
As regards separate SGPC for Haryana I am in its favour because it would generate some kind of competition as we find in the case of Delhi Gurdwara Committee.
But the main concern of the Sikhs should be survival of SGPC as a democratic institution free from Govt interference as promised by Pandit J.L.Nehru when the Sikhs were persuaded to accept aligning with India. 

Here are my Facebook comments which I wrote sometimes in 2013 and below that are some newspaper clippings:

1. SGPC admits in High Court that it is a Govt body
2. Elected members have no say. No general house is convened.
3. The last elections took place in Sept. 2011 and till this date house is not convened
4. SGPC itself publishes an anti-Sikh book
5. Anti-Sikh hoardings installed in historic Gurdwaras

Newspaper clippings

Akal Takht Jathedar calls Haryana leaders for talks

GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 1
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has invited Haryana Sikh leaders to discuss the issue of a separate body to manage gurdwaras in Haryana tomorrow.

The invitees are the five leaders, who have been spearheading the move. They are Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (ad hoc) chief Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Didar Singh Nalvi, Apaar Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and SGPC’s independent member Gurmeet Singh Talokewala.

Confirming this, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said they had been invited for discussions to resolve the issue.

“They have not been summoned but invited to discuss the resentment they have with the SGPC’s working. They would be apprised of the repercussions of having a separate Sikh body which would lead to nothing but division in the community. If they have any grudges about management of the affairs of gurdwaras elsewhere, they are invited to discuss the matter at Akal Takht,” he said. Reacting to the development, Jhinda said the visit was under consideration but maintained that since the issue had taken a “political discourse”, the Akal Takht Jathedar should have refrained from taking it up.

“With due respects to Akal Takht Jathedar, I wonder when we were never involved by him in discussion on any religious issue earlier, then why now, all of a sudden, the need was felt to call us? I submit that Jathedar should not initiate moves under the influence of the SGPC.

Inviting us appears nothing but an autocratic attitude", he said.

The demand for a separate gurdwara managing committee gained momentum in Haryana as the Assembly elections in the state are drawing closer. Jhinda had claimed that Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would announce a separate Sikh body on July 6.

Justifying CM’s decision, Jhinda said, “When Punjab and Haryana became different states, a re-organisation Act was constituted under which various departments were established for the two states. However, a separate gurdwara committee was not constituted. Now, when Haryana is a separate entity and a big section of the Sikhs wants a separate managing committee, what was the hitch? It could be formed under the re-organisation Act”, he said.

Jhinda said the SAD, too, has been adopting double standards to gain political mileage.

Visit under consideration: Jhinda

“With due respects to Akal Takht Jathedar, I wonder when we were never involved by him in discussion on any religious issue earlier, why now, all of a sudden, the need was felt to call us?” — Jagdish Singh Jhinda, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (ad hoc) chief. He said the visit was under consideration.

Issue hukumnama: Haryana SAD

The Haryana unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has urged the highest temporal seat of the Sikh community to issue a hukumnama against those supporting the demand for a separate SGPC in the state. The SAD leaders said the demand for a separate body was completely unjustified as it politically motivated to divide the Sikh community.


Badal, Hooda spar over Haryana gurdwara management

Sarabjit Pandher
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda crossed swords over management of gurdwaras in Haryana by setting up a separate committee.
Reacting to Mr. Hooda’s recent statement on the issue, Mr. Badal said on Sunday that the Shiromani Akali Dal would oppose the move tooth and nail. He warned the Congress against interfering in the religious affairs of the Sikhs. Mr. Hooda accused Mr. Badal of misleading the people of Haryana during the recent general elections. He said Mr. Badal promised that one of the Indian National Lok Dal MPs would be inducted in the Central Cabinet soon after Mr. Modi became Prime Minister.
Mr. Badal said that the Akali Dal would not tolerate any attempts to weaken the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, which manages its shrines. He said the SGPC had achieved this after making sacrifices during a prolonged struggle against the “mighty British Raj”.
The SGPC, which was set up under the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925, manages the affairs of the shrines and some educational institutions across Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, under which the States of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were carved out of the erstwhile united Punjab, does provide for setting up of a separate committee for gurdwaras in Haryana.


Hooda may declare state SGPC on July 6

Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) could finally be a reality with the announcement likely to come at the conference to be hosted by the HSGPC in Kaithal on July 6.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has already agreed to attend the programme organised jointly by the Didar Singh Nalvi and Jhinda factions and has indicated that the government is now ready to fulfil its commitment made in the 2004 Assembly elections.

Sources said while the draft for a separate Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is ready, the government will soon after the announcement call a session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha to seek its stamp. The session is expected to be held in the first fortnight of July.

Sources said that the venue for the conference has been shifted from the anaj mandi to the local stadium given the large numbers expected to turn up for the conference called to press the demand for a separate body to manage gurdwaras in Haryana.

Members of the ad hoc committee maintain that the venue has been chosen keeping in mind the security concerns since the SGPC and its political bosses, opposed to a separate SGPC for Haryana, may try and create trouble.

“They are suffering from a fear psychosis ever since they have come to know that the Haryana Sikhs are going to be independent of them. They have issued veiled threats, accused us of pursuing a politically-motivated agenda, they have called us government stooges but the fact remains that Sikhs of Haryana want a separate body and they are likely to get it very soon. We are all hoping the announcement will come at the conference,” Nalvi said.

On tour since the conference was announced, Jhinda and Nalvi said that they decided to set aside their differences and work jointly to realise a mission they started together. For the purpose, both have extensively travelled to villages in the Sikh-dominated districts to invite members of their community.

“We are expecting a big gathering which will be addressed by the Chief minister and PWD Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, among others. The chairman of the government-constituted committee to consider a separate SGPC, Harmohinder Singh Chathha, and other leaders will also be present,” he claimed.

Nalvi added that the government announcement will have to be followed by a session of the Assembly. “After new states were carved out of Punjab, the provision for a separate SGPC for Haryana was also made. Parliament delegated the authority for its creation to the Haryana Assembly which is why the House will have to pass the same before it can become official,” he explained.

‘SGPC to oppose state’s move on separate panel’

Kurukshetra: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will oppose the state government’s move to constitute a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana tooth and nail, said SGPC Haryana member Harbhajan Singh Masana. Talking to mediapersons here on Sunday, Masana said: “The Haryana Government is trying to divide the Sikh community to get political advantage. Whenever elections come, the Congress party takes up the issue in order to woo the Sikh voters.” Masana said a meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC would be held in Chandigarh tomorrow to discuss further course of action. “We are seeking legal and political opinion on the matter,” he said. Haryana Finance and Irrigation Minister Harmohinder Singh Chattha, who headed the Chattha Committee, said: “I am in favour of forming a separate committee for monitoring state gurdwaras. The Congress is not trying to divide the Sikhs. Rather we are trying to safeguard their rights.” — TNS


No stay on SGPC election verdict


J. Venkatesan

Apex court permits newly-elected Board to keep functioning

While refusing to stay at this stage the judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court restoring the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs, the Supreme Court on Friday, however, allowed the newly-elected Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) Board to continue functioning.

A Bench of Justices R. M. Lodha and H. L Gokhale, acting on an appeal filed by the SGPC against the High Court judgment quashing the Centre's notification, issued notices to the Sehajdhari Federation, the Union Home Ministry, the Punjab Government and the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections seeking their response in six weeks. Appearing for SGPC, senior counsel Harish Salve and counsel Gurminder Singh also pleaded for an interim stay of the December 20, 2011, High Court judgment, but the Bench said it would only issue notice at this stage.

Appearing for the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, senior counsel U. U. Lalit submitted that fresh elections should be held as the SGPC election result, declared on September 22, 2011, was subject to the outcome of the High Court judgment. As the election was held without the participation of Sehajdhari Sikhs, the SGPC Board should be elected afresh, he argued.

The Centre had issued a notification excluding from the category of eligible voters of the SGPC Board the Sikhs (Sehajdhari), who trim or shave their beard or hair. As a result, the Sehajdharis were not allowed to vote in the previous elections. The High Court quashed the notification. Aggrieved, the SGPC has now filed the appeal seeking to quash the impugned judgment.

In its appeal, the SGPC said: “It has been the understanding of those well-versed in the tenets of Sikhism that persons who trim or shave their beard or hair, and therefore do not keep their hair unshorn, violate one of the cardinal tenets of the religion and thereby cease to be a Sikh…. By removing the requirement of keeping unshorn hair for identifying Sikhs, the doors are open for persons of other communities, who merely declare their allegiance to the faith and can claim to be Sikhs, and thereby become voters even if they trim or shave their beard or hair. Without deciding this issue, the High Court has erroneously quashed the 2003 notification on the principle that it seeks to amend a matter of policy of the law or a matter that impinges on the core of the legislation.”

“The High Court in the impugned judgment expressly declined to go into the issue of who is a Sikh and whether Sehajdharis, who cut their hair would continue to be Sikhs, but nonetheless struck down the notification in question.” It prayed for quashing the judgment and an interim stay of its operation.


November 28, 2013 02:32 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News Bureau)

The Sehajdhari Sikh voting issue was very first taken up by the SAD Mann through its General Secretary Jagmohan Singh and former SGPC Member Bharpur Singh, who filed a petition CWP No.13424/2001 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2001 for debarring the Sehajdhari Sikhs to participate in Shriomani Prabhandhar Committee (SGPC) voting. The Sehajdhari Sikh Party previously known as the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation jumped into the fray and requested the Court to implead it as a necessary party as the lakhs of Sehajdhari Sikhs were to be effected by the decision of the Court.

Another victory of  Sehajdhari Sikh Party 

The High Court then impleaded the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation as a necessary party and meanwhile the Union Govt. issued a notification on 8 Oct 2003 debarring the Sehajdhari Sikhs and this case was admitted by the Court which came up for hearing on 23.11.2013. The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the case in light of the judgement passed by the full bench on 20.12.2011 where the notification was quashed by the court. It is mentionable here that the said notification of the union Govt. was challenged by the Sehajdhrai Sikh Federation in 2003 and two elections were held mean while which were made subject to the writ petition and by the verdict of the Court dated  20.12.2011 the SGPC elections held in Sept 2011 stood at nullity and the newly elected house could not hold its first meeting. Even the SGPC Board which was though notified and constituted on 18.12.2011 vide a notification by the Union Govt. but was made subject to the pending decision of the writ of the Sehajdharis which became infructous after the final  judgment. The SGPC was aggrieved by the verdict and filed an SLP in the Supreme Court where no interim stay was granted against the verdict of the High Court but an interim stop gap arrangement was made by  passing an agreed order by the Court allowing the 15 members old Executive Committee to function. Dr.Paramjeet Singh Ranu President of the Sehajdhari Sikh Party informed the media that the case of the SGPC was taken up on 4 Oct in the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Appeal of the SGPC has been admitted and shall be heard within a year.  Now if this aggrieved SAD Mann Dal also approaches the Hon’ble Supreme Court then  the matter can get more complicated and can run into years long thus benefiting the present President Avtar Singh Makkar.

Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed its September 1 ruling allowing Sehajdharis to exercise franchise in the September 18 SGPC elections following a petition by the Centre seeking recall of the order.

Express News Service | Chandigarh | September 7, 2011 2:40 am

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday stayed its September 1 ruling allowing Sehajdharis (non-baptised Sikhs) to exercise franchise in the September 18 Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections following a petition by the Centre seeking recall of the order.

The full bench of the court also issued notices to Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF),SGPC,states of Punjab and Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh on the petition of the Centre and asked them to submit their reply on September 13.

Tempers ran high as the application filed by the Centre came up for hearing. Mukesh Berry,Additional Advocate General of Punjab,accused the Centre of hatching a conspiracy. “A novel method was adopted by the Central government and the petitioners to get relief from the court. It is a conspiracy between the Central government and the petitioners,” he added.

Berry also requested the court to seek an explanation from senior lawyer Harbhagwan Singh,who had allegedly made a “false” statement before the bench that the Centre has decided to withdraw the notification,whereby Sehajdhari Sikhs were denied voting rights in SGPC elections. Reacting to the request,Justice M M Kumar,speaking for the full bench,remarked that it was for the court to decide.

On the other hand,Assistant Solicitor General of India Anmol Rattan Sidhu — appearing on behalf of the Union government — vehemently objected to the allegation of conspiracy levelled by Berry.

Directing the lawyers not to indulge in cross talks,Justice Kumar stated that “time has come when we must demand everything in writing”.

Seeking the recall of the order dated September 1,Sidhu stated that the Centre is requesting that the order be recalled on two grounds. First,no decision to withdraw the notification was taken by the Central government and second,Harbhagwan Singh was not competent to make this statement before the bench on behalf of the Union government.

Sidhu averred that nobody had briefed Harbhagwan Singh to make such a statement on behalf of the Centre. He,however,added that Harbhagwan Singh was engaged in two of the three petitions challenging the elections. “The senior lawyer had no authority in particular to make such a statement,” Sidhu,assisted by Advocate Onkar Singh Batalvi,said.

On the other hand,the petitioners in the case sought a stay over the elections,but the court refused.

The bench also told Berry not to blindly rely on media reports. “If you are so enamoured with press reports,file it in writing that you are relying on press reports,” it stated.

Earlier,the September 1 ruling came after senior advocate Harbhagwan Singh told the court that the Centre had decided to withdraw a 2003 notification,which was challenged by SSF,preventing Sehajdhari from participating in the SGPC polls.

However,a day after the court order,the government came out with a clarification that neither has it withdrawn the notification nor does it plan to take any such action,after the ruling drew angry reaction from the Shiromani Akali Dal and SGPC.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram gave a statement in Parliament that,“Neither the Ministry of Law nor the Ministry of Home Affairs had given a vakalatnama to Harbhagwan


Chandigarh police to probe fake call to high court advocate

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | September 7, 2011 12:26 am

Chandigarh police has initiated a probe to nab the alleged mystery caller who forced the senior advocate of Punjab and Haryana High court,Harbhagwan Singh to withdraw the notification that barred the Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting.

Chandigarh police has initiated a probe to nab the alleged mystery caller who forced the senior advocate of Punjab and Haryana High court,Harbhagwan Singh to withdraw the notification that barred the Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting.

On September 1,Harbhagwan Singh had informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the Union government had decided to withdraw the 2003 notification which barred Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting in the SGPC poll after which the court disposed three petitions related to the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs .

Superintendent of Police (SSP),Chandigarh,Naunihal Singh,said that Deputy Superintendent of Police,(DSP) Crime Satbir Singh will be probing the matter. “DSP crime has been asked to review it,” the SSP said.

Police sources in the crime branch said that they would be trying to find out who made the phone call to advocate Harbhagwan Singh. The senior advocate had claimed that someone had walked to him on September 1,the day when Sehajdhari Sikhs voting rights case was listed and he handed over his phone saying that there was an important message for him from Union Ministry of Law. It was after this phone call that he informed the court about the decision of withdrawing the notification.


SGPC poll may be put off, Sehajdharis can now vote

Centre withdraws 2003 notification, claims it was issued without application of mind

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
In a surprising turn of events, the Centre today withdrew the October 2003 notification debarring Sehajdhari Sikhs from exercising franchise in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections.

The Centre claimed the notification had been issued “without application of mind”. The strategic withdrawal came just 17 days prior to the SGPC elections. As a result, the right of the Sehajdhari Sikhs to vote stands restored and they may find themselves taking part in the forthcoming SGPC poll.

As the notification for holding the elections has already been issued, a final decision on the inclusion of the Sehajdhari Sikhs will be taken by the Gurdwara Election Commission.

The development is significant as the elections may be postponed if the commission decides to amend the electoral rolls to include the names of Sehajdhari Sikhs.

The announcement this afternoon took everyone by a surprise. As the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging the non-inclusion of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the voting process was on, senior advocate-cum-Punjab’s former Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh stood up.

Representing the Union of India, Harbhagwan Singh informed the Full Bench of Justice MM Kumar, Justice Alok Singh and Justice Gurdev Singh that the notification dated October 8, 2003, stood withdrawn.

He said the notification was issued “without any application of mind, only on the basis of a resolution passed by the SGPC on March 3, 2002”.

He informed the Bench that the Union of India also wished to withdraw the written statements, which had taken a contrary stand”.

The Bench asserted in the open court: “In the view of the statement by senior advocate Harbhagwan Singh, the reference made to the Full Bench is rendered infructuous and is disposed of as such.”

The notification was issued during the NDA regime under Prime Minister AB Vajpayee a year before the 2004 General Elections. A few months back, an application was filed before the High Court by the national president of Sehajdhari Sikh Federation Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, seeking a stay on the SGPC elections, slated to be held on September 18. He asserted a writ petition was earlier filed, challenging the 2003 notification “vide which the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs have been taken away in a totally illegal and arbitrary manner”.

Without waiting for the High Court decision, a proposal was submitted to the State of Punjab for holding election to the SGPC General House.

His counsel added the election process was made subject to the outcome of the writ petition vide an earlier order dated May 31, 2004. “While the writ petition is still pending before this court, the elected body has already enjoyed a term of seven years against the statutory period of five years and now again the respondents are going ahead with the election process…If the respondents are allowed to go ahead with the elections without waiting for the decision on this very important issue where lakhs of Sehajdhari Sikhs voters have been disfranchised, the respondents could be again electing a body against the provision of law. “Such a body can hardly be referred to as a true representative of the Sikhs masses. In the facts and circumstances, it is a fit case where the respondents are required to be restrained from holding elections,” he added.

Ball in his court

Any decision on the elections can only be taken after we get a copy of the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. We are bound by any direction of the court, but before I can make any comment, I need to know what the order is — Justice HS Brar (retd) Chief Commissioner Gurdwara Election Commissioner

n The strategic withdrawal comes just 17 days prior to the SGPC elections

n The notification was issued a year before the General Election during the NDA regime

n Announcement made during the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging the notification

Who is a Sehajdhari

n A clean-shaven person who believes in Sikhism and its religious rituals

n Does not use tobacco in any form

n Does not eat halal meat

n Knows the Mool Mantar (Ek Onkar, Satnam…)

n Does not consume alcohol

n Does not follow any other religion

Who is a Keshdhari

n A person who does not cut hair

n Believes in all tenets of Sikhism

n Follows all rituals of the Sikh religion

n And follows all principals followed by Sehajdharis
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