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Sikh Leaders Seek Immediate Implementations Of High Court Judgement.

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Welcoming judgement of Jammu and Kashmir High Court regarding elections of District Gurudwara Prabandak Committees in UT, a number of Sikh leaders urged LG Manoj Sinha to direct concerned authorities for immediate implementation of the judgement without any further delay.

“Samarkand Express” team met the petitioners and other prominent Sikh leaders to remove the curtains.

The elections of the members of District Gurdawara  Prabandhak Committee Jammu was held in October 2003 and the Committee was constituted on 06.11.2003 and the District Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee Jammu completed its term of five years on 0:5,11.2008

The Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court vide its order dated .07.11.2008 directed the State Government among other things to take appropriate steps in terms of Rule 63C of the J&K Sikh Gurdawaras and Religious Endowment Rules 1975, for administering the affairs of District Gurdawaras in District Jammu until new elections are held; and  in terms of the said Hon’ble High Court order, the Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 63C of the J&K Sikh Gurdawaras and Religious Endowment Rules 1975 nominated eleven persons as members of the District  Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee Jammu for a period of six mcnths or till elections are held whichever is earlier, to manage the affairs of the said Committee vide SRO Notification 357 dated 10.11.20-08.

The process for conducting of fresh elections was initiated by the Government.

For holding of elections of Gurdawara Prabandhak Committees/ Board in the State as per the laws in vogue, funds were released by the Department vide Government Order No. 2042-LL (A) of 2011 dated 28.07.2011.

Financial Commissioner ‘:(Revenue), under whose superintendence, direction and control, elections will be held had initiated the process to organize all necessary arrangements for holding elections for Gurdawara Prabandhak Committees/ Board by the end of August 2011.

 In furtherance of this, Deputy Commissioner Jammu issued communication No. ENT/2010. /8297-8308 dated 06.07.2011 whereby electoral roll of Sikh Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee have been ordered to be made.

One Sardar Tajinder Singh filed a writ petition bearing No. 1065/2011 before the Hon’ble High Court at Jammu against the State and others and got stay order dated, 09.08.2011 against the Deputy Commissioner’s communication dated 06.07.2011.

In view of the court direction. dated -09.08.2011, the fresh election process could not be brought to its logical conclusion.

Another writ petition bearing No. 520/2011 titled Rahat Maryada Research Centre through its president Sardar Gurcharan Singh has been filed before the High Court at Jammu against the State and others, wherein the vires of certain provisions of the Act and rules made thereunder have been challenged.

In view of the interim directions issued by the Hon’ble High Court in writ petition bearing No. 1065/2011, it will not be practicable to hold elections for the Sikh Gurdawara Prabandhak Committees/Board

The Government is satisfied that it is not reasonably practicable to hold elections for the said Committees/ Board in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the rules till the vacation of the interim directions.

Sikh United Front J&K, Jammu has submitted a representation to the State Government on 30.11.2011 praying therein for reconstituting the Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee Jammu to manage the affairs of Sikh Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee Jammu, pending elections to the said Committee.

The Government, after, taking into consideration the representation Of Sikh United Front J&K Jammu, as well as the pending litigation and the directions of the Hon’ble High Court has decided to invoke the provisions of Rule 63C of the Jammu and Kashmir Sikh Gurdawaras’ & Religious Endowment Rules 1975 to nominate a Committee to look after the management of the affairs of the Sikh Guidawara Prabandhak Committee, Jammu.

Now, therefore, the Government, in the exercise of the powers conferred under rule 63C of the Jammu and Kashmir Sikh Gurdawaras & Religious Endowment Rules 1975, and in supersession of all the previous notifications issued on the subject, hereby nominate the following persons as members of the District Gurdawara Prabandhak Committee, Jammu for a period of six months or till election are held; whichever earlier, to look after the management of affairs of the said Committee

  1. S. Mohinder Singh Reid. District & Sessions Judge presently Member, State Subject Inquiry Commission S/0 S. Thakur Singh R/O Exchange Road Jammu. 2.
  2.  Sardar Jagit Singh Sio Sujan Singh Rio R.S. Pora Jammu.
  • S.Remneek Singh Bijral S/0 S. Sant Singh Bijral R/O Gandhi Nagar, Jammu.
  •  S.Sukhjeet Singh (AE)  S/O Dalip Singh R/0 Akhnoor Jammu.
  •  S. Ajit Pal Singh S/0 S. Harbans Singh Ex-Minister, Gandhinagar Jammu.
  •  S. Mohinder Singh S/0 S. Jaswant Singh R/O Nanak Nagar, Jammu.
  •  S. Narbir Singh S/0 S. Kehar Singh R/O Preet Nagar, Jammu.
  •  S. Manmohan Singh S/O S. Darshan .Singh R/O Gole Gujrai Jammu.
  •  S. Taranjit Singh Tony RIO Rani Talab, Digiana, Jammu.
  •  Col G.S.Babber S/o Gyani Sacha Singh R/O Sainik Colony, Jammu.
  •  S. Surinder Singh Banti, Advocate S/o Nain Singh, Rio Eidgha (Residence Road) Jammu

01. The last elections of the District Gurdwara Prabandhak

Committees of Jammu and other Districts to look after the affairs of Sikh

Gurdwaras were conducted on 08.07.2015 and the tenure of these

Committees as per Section 13 of the Act is only five years and the same

came to an end on 10.07.2020. The process for elections for constituting

new District Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees was required to be initiated

before the expiry of the said period, so that the new committees could take

charge, start functioning and for managing the affairs of the Gurdwara. The

grievance of the petitioner is that the respondents, instead of initiating the

process of elections after the expiry of the term of District Gurdwara

Prabandhak Committees, issued impugned notification dated 13.07.2020

extending the period of these District Gurdwara Committees for a period of

three months from the date of expiry of their term or till elections are held,

whichever is earlier.

02. The impugned notification SO 218 issued on 13th July,2020

reads as under:

“SO 218:-In exercise of the powers conferred by rule 63C of

the Jammu and Kashmir Sikh Gurdwaras and Religious

Endowments Rules, 1975 and in suppression of all previous

notifications issued on the subject, the Government hereby

directs that the members of District Gurdwara Prabandhak

Committees of District Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla,

Budgam, Kupwara, Srinagar and Jammu, elected in the year

2015 shall continue as the members of the said committees for a

period of three (03) months from the date their terms has expired

3 WP(C) No. 1174/2020

are till elections of these Committees are held under the Act and

the rules framed there under, whichever is earlier.”

03. By the impugned notification dated 13.07.2020, the respondents

have granted extension to the tenure of these committees for a period of

three months, from the date of expiry of their term or till elections of these

committees are held, whichever is earlier. The period of three months also

came to an end on 13.10.2020 and thereafter, no further notification in

terms of the rules has been issued.

04. The petitioners are aggrieved of the aforesaid notification as the

same is against the mandate of the Act and the Rules. The respondents had

to initiate the process for holding elections to the District Gurdwara

Prabandhak Committees and till then, they had to nominate members of the

committee by issuing a notification but, that too, only after recording their

satisfaction and for reasons to be recorded in writing in terms of Rule-63C

of the Rules. Rule-63C of the Rules reads as under:-

Rule-63C: Notwithstanding anything to the contrary

contained in these rules, where the term of office of the members

of any Committee has expired before holding elections and the

Government is satisfied, for reasons to be recorded in writing that

it is not reasonably practicable to hold elections to any

The committee in accordance with the provisions of the Act and

these rules, it may, by notification, nominate the members of the

Committee and thereupon the provisions of the Act and these

rules shall apply to the members so nominated in the same

manner as they apply to the members elected under the Act and

these rules;

Provided that the term of office of members of the

Committee so nominated shall not exceed one year unless the

Government for reasons to be recorded in writing, considers it

necessary to extend the term for further period not exceeding one

year at a time.”

05. The respondents in terms of the aforesaid Rules could nominate

the members to the Committees but before doing so, they had to record

their satisfaction by giving reasons which were to be recorded in writing.

The term of the Committee could also be extended beyond the period of

one year but only if necessary and for reasons to be recorded in writing.

06. A bare perusal of the notification dated 13.07.2020 reveals that no

reason for recording the satisfaction in writing has been given, while

passing the impugned notification. The Government in terms of the Rule-

63C of the Act had to nominate the members of the Committee and not to

extend the tenure of the Committee after expiry of the term, therefore, the

impugned notification, on the face of it, is against the mandate of Rule-63C

of the Act. The notification, however, has lapsed with time as it was for a

period of only for three months or till elections are held whichever is

earlier.

07. This Court vide order dated 17.07.2020, while directing the

Government to reconsider the matter and take a decision as per Rule-63C

of the Act, directed that the exercise of powers of the committees in terms

of the impugned notification be supervised and monitored by the concerned

Deputy Commissioners.

08. Mr. S. S. Nanda, learned Sr. AAG, in his objections, submits that

the impugned notification was issued due to covid-19 situation as elections

were not possible to be held, therefore, in exercise of powers under the Act,

the committees were granted extension for a period of three months from

the date their term has expired or till elections of these Committees are held

under the Act and the Rules framed thereunder, whichever is earlier. It

appears that the date of elections was notified on 12.10.2021, but same

could not be conducted.

09. Record reveals that an application on behalf of Sant Pal Singh was

filed seeking a direction to defer the elections of Gurdwara Prabandhak

Committees till May, 2021. Mr. Nanda, learned Sr. AAG submits that due

to outbreak of 2nd wave of Covid-19 pandemic and unprecedented situation,

the respondents have not conducted the elections which was deferred and

any other arrangements, according to him, will be made only after review

of the same in consultation with the Divisional Administration.

10. The respondents could not have extended the term of the District

Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees of various Districts beyond the term of

two years in terms of SO 218 as the same is not as per the mandate of Rule-

63C of the Rules. In any case, this notification has otherwise also outlived

its life as it was only for a period of three months or till elections are held

whichever is earlier.

11. Since it was not practicable to hold elections, as such, the

respondents had to proceed in terms of the Rule-63C of the Rules and

nominate the members of the Committee in accordance with the provisions

of the Act and the Rules after recording its satisfaction for reasons to be

recorded in writing. It is apparent that the members of the erstwhile

committee are still continuing to manage the affairs of Gurdwara despite

the fact that notification was only for three months and there was no

extension of the same, though in terms of the order of this Court. They are

being monitored by the Deputy Commissioner. Their term has expired,

they have no right to continue the same.

12. The elections to the District Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees

have been delayed for more than one and half year and the only reason is

that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic as life and working in the Union

Territory has come to a halt, therefore, Government did not find reasonably

practicable time to hold the elections for any of the committees. It appears

that till date, there are neither any validly elected nor nominated Gurdwara

Prabandhak Committees in the Districts of the UT of J&K. Though the

situation has considerably improved now, and elections to the Gurdwara

Prabandhak outside the State are being held, elections to the various States

Assembly were also conducted during the intervening period, but the

respondents have not deemed it fit to conduct the elections to these

committees.

13. In view of the aforesaid discussion, Gurdwara Prabandhak

Committees which are presently looking after the affairs of the Gurdwara

are continuing un-authorizedly in office and cannot not be allowed further

to continue in such a manner.

14. Keeping in view the administration, superintendence and

management of Sikh Gurdwaras and its properties in Union Territory of

J&K, Constitution of District Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees is

imperative, therefore, to run day to day administration of the Sikh

Gurdwaras, the Government shall come up with an appropriate notification

in terms of Rule-63C of Rules for constituting/nominating suitable

members to District Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees. The Government

shall ensure that none of the members of the erstwhile Committee, whose

term has expired, are nominated as members and the Committee be

constituted of independent persons of high integrity and social standing

within a period of three weeks. The Government may also initiate the

process of conducting elections to the Gurdwara Prabandhak Committees

of Gurdwaras of the Union Territory, in accordance with the provisions of

the Act of 1973 expeditiously.

15. Writ petition along with connected application(s) is disposed of in

the aforesaid terms.

Now, it is the “Sangat” to read between the lines and throw a judgement of their mindset.

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