Chandigarh, July 18- The Union Home Secretary Mr. Anil Goswami today shot off a DO letter to the Principal Secretary to Governor of Haryana Ms. Neelam Kasmi to request the Governor to withdraw assent given by him to the bill for constituting separate committee for management of Gurdwaras in Haryana, in view of the fact that the state legislature had no legislative competence and the bill pass was void and of no legal effect, before any or further complications arrive.
The letter said that it had come to the notice of the Union government that the legislative assembly of Haryana has passed “The Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Bill 2014” on July 11, 2014 and Governor of Haryana has given assent to the said bill on July 14, 2014 without reserving the bill for consideration and assent of President of India. The Union Home Secretary further said that the Central Government in this matter sought the opinion of Attorney General of India who in turn has advised that, “The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 was in operation originally in undivided Punjab prior to Independence. After Independence it has operated in the undivided state of Punjab till the Punjab Re-organization Act, 1966 was passed by Parliament in September 1966. By virtue of re-organization Haryana was carved out and thereafter what is now called the state of Himachal Pradesh etc. The Gurdwaras covered by the Act of 1925 were spread over obviously the entire state of Punjab and also located in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh etc. Part III provides in chapter VI the constitution and composition of Board, which managed the Gurdwaras under its jurisdiction. By virtue of reorganization Act, the board has to manage gurdwaras spread over in other newly carved out state of Haryana. For this reason section 72 of Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 notes that successor states could also require a body to function and manage gurdwaras now falling within the new state.
Section 72 (I) provides that a body corporate functioning in the erstwhile state of Punjab will also serve the means of the successor states. Thus, the said body will have jurisdiction to mage gurdwaras beyond the territory of one state. By virtue of this section, the board will be deemed to be a corporation and it is so specifically provided in Sub Section- C of section 72 in other words, from 1925 onwards the board has functioned originally in the state of Punjab and thereafter also in the successor states. This was the position till the Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed the bill in question. By virtue of the bill, it appears, a new board will be constituted which will manage the Gurdwaras in the state of Haryana and the jurisdiction of board under 1925 act would be accordingly curtailed.
The stand or understanding of Haryana Vidhan Sabha/ Haryana Government seems to be that it has the power and jurisdiction to pass this bill by virtue of Entry 32 in the list II of schedule 7th of the constitution of India. The said entry provides for incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporation other than those specified in list I. Since 72 (3) of the Reorganization Act 1966 creates a fiction that the board becomes Corporation or deemed to be a corporation the state legislature seems to feel that it derives to powers to pass the bill by virtue the aforesaid Entry. Entry 44 list- I talks incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporation whether, trading or not but with object not confined to one state……..
It is obvious that the erstwhile board under the 1925 Act which has become a Corporation by virtue of section 72 sub section 10 of the Reorganization Act 1966 has object which are not confined to one state but are presently spread beyond the state of Punjab to the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Chandigarh. It is, therefore clear that 1925 Act falls within Entry 44 of the list-I. On its own terms, thus Entry 32 of list II is excluded. The state legislature is therefore, deluded of any jurisdiction to pass any bill in respect of which only Parliament has exclusive power to enact law. The law is already in place since 1925 and there is no jurisdiction for the Haryana state legislature to have passed the law on the same subject matter taking away the jurisdiction of board/ corporation on the basis of 1925 Act. In fact, by virtue of section 54, the Haryana legislature has declared that the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 shall not apply within the territory of Haryana.