Centre appoints chief commissioner for gurdwara polls, units ball rolling

Written by Navjeevan Gopal
| Chandigarh |

Updated: October 8, 2020 9:39:14 am

gurdwara polls, gurdwara elections, SGCP elections, SS Saron, Indian ExpressTeja Singh Samundri Hall, the pinnacle workplace of SGPC, in Amritsar (Express Photo)

In a primary step to pave the best way for holding the lengthy pending Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections, the Centre on Tuesday authorised the appointment of Justice S S Saron (retd) as Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections.

The proposal was authorised by the Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet.

Once there may be official notification, the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, will set the ball rolling for SGPC elections the place recent voter lists can be ready, amongst different issues.

Decision days after SAD revolt

The growth comes shut on the heels of resignation of Akali MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal as Union Cabinet minister and Shiromani Akali Dal, which controls the apex consultant physique of the Sikhs, strolling out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the difficulty of three contentious agri Acts handed by the Centre.

Reacting on the difficulty, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar took a jibe at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on twitter whereas referring to the event and citing the Idea Exchange that Sukhbir had with The Indian Express the place the SAD chief had mentioned that “PM has taken good steps…have ties with BJP, nevertheless it ignored allies”.

Citing the Idea Exchange story on his twitter deal with, Jakhar wrote, “BJP’s opening shot, appointing CC for gurdwara elections, knocks out Akali management. SAD president capitulates, forgetting farmer’s trigger, feels no compunction in singing praises for PM Modi.”

There had been calls for from numerous quarters together with from SAD breakaway faction chief and Rajya Sabha MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and senior advocate and former AAP MLA from Dakha H S Phoolka to nominate the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections for holding the SGPC elections, which based on them had been due since December 2016.

Even the Punjab authorities, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, has been repeatedly writing to Centre to nominate the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, after Justice Darshan Singh (retd) declined to take up the publish in 2018.

An official mentioned that the Centre had not been responding, and the final reminder to this impact was despatched within the first week of August.

Last yr, Amarinder had additionally beneficial for the publish the names of Justice Ranjit Singh (retd), who headed the fee fashioned by Congress authorities to probe sacrilege incidents in Punjab, and Justice M S Gill (retd), the pinnacle of a panel to look into “political vendetta instances” registered throughout ten-year SAD-BJP rule. Amarinder had additionally beneficial the identify of Justice Mehinder Singh Sullar (retd) at the same time as Punjab and Haryana High Court had despatched a listing of retired judges for the publish.

As per the brand new guidelines notified by the Union Home Ministry in October 2014 for the appointment of Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, “The central authorities shall search from the Registrar, Punjab and Haryana High Court, a panel of at the least three retired judges not exceeding the age of 70 years who’ve retired from the Punjab and Haryana High Court”.

As per the brand new guidelines, the “search-cum-selection committee consisting of Home Secretary as Chairman and Law Secretary and Secretary, Department of Expenditure will suggest a panel of appropriate candidates for the publish, so as of desire, to Appointments Committee of Cabinet for the ultimate choice”.

Punjab CM, whereas recommending the three names, had identified that that Justice Darshan Singh (retd), who had expressed his incapability to take up the publish after his appointment as Haryana Real Estate Appellate Tribunal Chairman, had not joined as Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections final yr after being appointed to the publish by Centre.

Dhindsa, who heads the breakaway Akali faction Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic), mentioned, “SGPC elections had been due for lengthy. I had additionally written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah earlier this yr for appointment of Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections. Badals’ -led Akali Dal was delaying this. Eventually, Centre determined to approve the appointment.” On timing of the Centre’s resolution, Dhindsa mentioned, “When the alliance broke, Centre most likely determined to finally approve the appointment to pave approach for the elections.”

Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema mentioned, “There ought to positively be a Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections. We are for it.”

Reacting to allegations of Dhindsa that Badals’ led Akali Dal was delaying the appointment when in alliance with BJP, Cheema refuted the allegations and added, “Home Ministry makes the appointment. Ask them”.

Cheema added that following the Supreme Court instructions, the SGPC House elected in 2011 “assembled in 2016” and therefore polls perhaps held as per the schedule.

The 191-member SGPC has 170 elected members, 15 co-opted members, the chiefs (Jathedar) of 5 Sikh Takhts and the pinnacle priest of Golden Temple. The present House is dominated by the SAD.

SGPC elections, as per laid down provisions, are to be held each 5 years. In December 2011, Punjab and Haryana High Court had nullified the SGPC polls held in September 2011 because it restored the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs (Sikhs with shorn hair) by quashing 2003 notification of the Union authorities. Based on that notification, Sehajdhari Sikhs weren’t allowed to vote in 2011 SGPC elections, however the courtroom throughout one of many listening to had made it clear that the SGPC ballot outcomes can be topic to the decision within the Sehajdhari voting rights case. In February 2012, SGPC moved Supreme Court difficult the order of Punjab and Haryana Court. In 2016, the Supreme Court whereas reinstating the 2011 SGPC House referred to an modification by Parliament the place Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 was amended to disclaim voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs with retrospective impact, from 2003.

Ready for SGPC polls: Dhindsa

Dhindsa added, “We are prepared for SGPC elections. We will collectively combat these elections with Ravi Inder Singh-led Akali Dal 1920 and Bhai Ranjit Singh-led Panthic Lehar. We additionally hope that Ranjit Singh Brahampura, who heads one other breakaway faction SAD (Taksali), can even be with us in SGPC polls.”

Terming it as an preliminary step for SGPC elections, Phoolka mentioned, it might take from six months to a yr as soon as the notification to nominate Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections was formally issued. “New voter lists should be ready, objections might be acquired, there could change within the areas in a selected constituency. It could take from six months to a yr. It is a welcome step,” mentioned Phoolka, who had been taking over the difficulty and a day after Gobind Singh Longowal was elected as SGPC president for third consecutive time period and the SGPC government committee reconstituted. He had written to Punjab CM in December final yr, renewing his demand that the CM ought to meet the Union Home Minister in reference to recent SGPC common home elections.

In the letter the place he beneficial names of three retired judges, Amarinder had referred to the official decision handed by Punjab Vidhan Sabha on February 14, 2019 which learn: “That this House recommends to the state authorities to strategy the central authorities for conducting the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee elections on account of its time period ending in December, 2016 and for the mentioned goal, Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections be appointed on the earliest. This House additionally strikes that Chief Minister, Punjab, be authorised to boost the mentioned matter with the central authorities.”

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