The govt has not withdrawn a 2003 notification preventing Sehajdhari or non-baptised Sikhs from participating in the elections to the SGPC and the polls would take place as scheduled, Home Minister P Chidambaram said.
He told the Rajya Sabha he has been in touch with Punjab government and schedule for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) polls was drawn up in close consultation with the Chief Minister and the minister concerned.
“The elections will take place as per schedule,” he said, responding to protests by BJP and SAD members in the wake of senior advocate Harbhagwan Dr. Singh stating in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the Centre has decided to withdraw the notification.The Home Minister also made the statement in Lok Sabha. He said said “neither the Ministry of Law nor the Ministry of Home Affairs had given a vakalatnama to Harbhagwan Singh. No one from the government had briefed him. In particular, he had no authority to make the statement that the notification dated 8th October, 2003 would be withdrawn.”
“Government also wishes to make it clear that there is no proposal to rescind or withdraw the notification,” he said.
“Government will bring the above facts to the notice of the High Court,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley asked if the government intends to proceed against Singh as his statement had created tension in the state and given an impression that Centre was interfering in religious affairs.
Chidambaram said he will seek an explanation from the advocate as did not wish to attach any malafide intentions at this stage.”Having regard to the seniority of the lawyer, let us hear him first,” he said.