AMRITSAR: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has called a special meeting of its members here on September 30 to discuss the future course of action in the wake of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutional validity of a 2014 law enacted by the Haryana
government to manage the affairs of the gurdwaras in the state. The SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, has said it will file a review petition against the apex court order.
It has also rejected the Supreme Court order upholding the validity of the Haryana Sikh
Gurdwara (Management) Act, 2014.
In a press release issued here, the SGPC said a resolution was passed in this regard at an urgent meeting of its executive committee.
The meeting, held in Chandigarh, was presided by SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami.
The resolution claimed that the law enacted by the Haryana government cannot affect the jurisdiction of the SGPC while the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 is in force.
Dhami said the SGPC executive committee has decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court order and a special meeting of all the members has been called in Amritsar on September 30 to discuss the future course of action.
He said only the Centre has the right to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 and that too is possible only with the approval of the SGPC’s General House
“States cannot reduce the jurisdiction of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 as the amendment conduct is determined. From time to time, governments have adopted tactics to weaken the Sikh power and interfere in the SGPC’s affairs, but they never succeeded before the Panth’s unity,” Dhami said.
There are 52 gurdwaras in Haryana. Five of those are managed by the HSGPC while the rest are under the SGPC.
Besides the shrines in Punjab and Haryana, the SGPC also manages the affairs of a gurdwara each in Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act was enacted when Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the chief minister.
Dhami said the then Union government, led by the Congress, had attempted to interfere in the SGPC’s affairs in 1959, but had to accept the Sikh community’s demand.
“After the protest by Sikhs, in April 1959, a pact was signed between the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Shiromani Akali Dal
president Master Tara Singh, under which it was made mandatory to take the approval of the SGPC’s General House for making amendments in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925,” he added.
Dhami said the Haryana government should not try to take possession of a gurdwara or any other institution functioning under the 1925 law.
The SGPC president also said “we appreciate the sentiments of the Sikh Sangat of Haryana, but the conspiracies of powers wanting to break the supreme Sikh body SGPC can never be accepted”.