Sikh‬ Gurdwara Amendment Bill: Bhagwant Mann vs Harsimrat Badal

The Lok Sabha passed the Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill, 2016, on Monday. With this, the Bill —already having been passed by Rajya Sabha — has been approved by Parliament and now awaits the Presidents sanction.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have demanded that Sahejdari Sikhs should not be allowed to vote.

The Bill proposes removing an exception made for Sahajdharis in 1944 that allowed them to vote in elections for the Board and committees instituted under the Act.

Rajya Sabha passed the Bill in the first half of Parliaments Budget Session last month. The Union Cabinet recently approved a proposal of the Home Ministry to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925, with effect from October 8, 2003.’

The 2003 notification had previously amended the Act, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed it in December 2011. The court however left it to the legislature to decide if the Act needed amendment.

Congress leader Ravneet Bittoo opposed the amendment.

‘The Sikh Gurudwaras Act should be renamed as Badal Gurudwara Act. You are trying to divide families through conspiracy. You are doing wrong with 70 lakh Sikhs who had voting rights in SGPC for 60 years. …You are dividing the Sikh community, already in minority,” he said.

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