Akali Dal terms Haryana gurdwara bill unconstitutional, illegal

Chandigarh : Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Friday termed the passing of a bill by the Haryana assembly for a separate Sikh board for gurdwaras in the state as “totally unconstitutional” and “illegal”.

Accusing Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of getting the bill passed as a “politically motivated” move, Punjab Education Minister and party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said “the timing of the bill abundantly speaks of the intension of the Haryana government”.

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Calling it as Hooda’s political gimmick just before state assembly polls, Cheema said the Haryana government knows fully well that the bill will not be given assent by the president.

“Hooda has been putting this exercise in delay drum for last 10 years but now sensing disastrous debacle of Congress party in coming Haryana assembly polls, he is playing the political gimmick,” Cheema said.

“(Congress’ Punjab chief) Partap Singh Bajwa and other Punjab Congress leaders backstabbed Sikhs by being present in the Haryana assembly during the process of passing the separate SGPC for Haryana,” he said in a statement here.

The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, was introduced and passed Friday on the very first day of the assembly’s monsoon session, amidst a walkout by opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators.

“The present bill regarding separate SGPC in Haryana will prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the Congress party. As per constitutional provisions, the Haryana state assembly cannot pass any bill against the spirit of the central act,” Cheema contended.

Cheema accused Haryana Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, who introduced the bill Friday, of wilfully misinterpreting the law and misleading the assembly.

There are 72 gurdwaras in Haryana under the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and they contribute over Rs.30 crore (Rs.300 million) to the SGPC kitty annually. The SGPC controls a majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines ‘Harmandar Sahib’ (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.