CHANDIGARH, July 19: Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh today took strong exception to the Union Home Ministry asking the Haryana Governor to reconsider his assent to the Act passed by the Haryana Legislature setting up a separate Gurdwara Managing Committee there. He said, this act of the Home Ministry was not only unprecedented but amounted to constitutional impropriety.
In a statement issued here today, Capt Amarinder said, it was exclusive the matter of the Haryana State. Besides, he added, the Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 gives a clear mandate to Haryana to set up its own SGPC which it has done.
“You don’t order a Governor, who is the constitutional head of the state, to withdraw his assent to a law passed by the state legislature”, he pointed out, while adding, the Union Home Ministry appears to have breached its brief apparently to mollycoddle the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who has made it a point of prestige not to allow setting up of a separate body for Haryana Sikhs.
Capt Amarinder asserted that an overwhelming majority of Sikhs, not only in Haryana, but also in Punjab and other parts of the country was supportive of a separate body for Haryana Sikhs to manage their gurdwaras and other institutions. “So what is wrong in that?” he asked.
The former Chief Minister wondered as why was Mr Badal and the SGPC controlled by him not seeking the judicial intervention. “If they think that the Haryana Act is illegal and unconstitutional what stops them from going to the court?” he asked, while adding, “or is it because they know that they do not stand any chance in a court of law as the Haryana Act is absolutely legitimate and legal and hence are trying to use extra-judicial pressure and emotional blackmail with the centre to force Haryana to withdraw the law even though it goes against the federal character of our democracy, which Mr Badal has been advocating for last 50 years and is now trying to weaken it”.
Asserting that the Haryana Act was constitutional valid and legal, Capt Amarinder referred to the Entry 28 of the concurrent list which mentions “Charities and Charitable Institutions, Charitable and Religious endowments and Religious Institutions.
He pointed out, Sikh Gurdwaras in the State of Haryana are clearly Religious Institutions and hence would fall within the ambit of Entry 28 of Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule. Consequently the State of Haryana is competent to legislate a separate and special State law dealing with Gurdwaras within the State of Haryana.