Chandigarh: Despite the Supreme Court’s decision on Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee HSGPC, the SGPC executive committee has passed a resolution that the Sikh institutions including gurdwaras in Chandigarh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh will continue to be under the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) until and unless the SGPC Gurdwara 1925 Act is amended.
Its president Harjinder Singh Dhami said no legislation passed by the state can override the jurisdiction of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 under which the SGPC was constituted. The 2014 Haryana Act has no legal sanctity, said Dhami in the wake of the Supreme Court upholding the 2014 HSGPC Act which provides independence to HSGPC to take control of all the educational institutions and 52 gurdwaras which were functioning under the SGPC headquartered in Amritsar.
HSGPC President Baljit Singh Daduwal said, “I have heard what SGPC president Dhami had to say. But the SC verdict is in our favour and even the sangat is with us. We are visiting all the gurdwaras and the management of each gurdwara is with us.”
Nehru-Master Tara Singh Pact: No Change In SGPC 1925 Act
Notably, the SGPC president has said that in late 1950 after a protest by the Sikhs, an agreement was signed between the then Prime Minister of the country Jawahar Lal Nehru and then Shiromani Akali Dal president Master Tara Singh in April 1959. As per the agreement, the Centre had to seek approval of the SGPC’s general house to amend the 1925 SGPC Gurdwara Act.
Chandigarh-based Prof Manjit Singh, who follows Sikh affairs closely said if such an accord took place between Nehru and Master Tara Singh, the SGPC should have provided such a document to the Supreme Court. What’s the use of crying over spilt milk? “However, I personally feel if the catholic and Muslim bodies can have umbrella bodies functioning at the trans-national level why not a Sikh body.” Prof Sukhwinder Singh, a professor at the Centre for Rural Research and Industrial Development CRIID who also follows Punjab affairs has a difference of opinion. He said, “If there can be a separate Delhi Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhank Committee DSGPC why not HSGPC? After all, HSGPC will ensure the welfare of the Sikhs of Haryana. What’s wrong with that?” he asked.
What Does The HSGPC Empowerment Mean
It means that the 52 gurdwaras of Haryana will be directly controlled by HSGPC. Earlier, only five of them were being managed by the HSGPC. The remaining 47 were managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). Apart from this, the gurdwaras in Haryana own an estimated 1,400 acres of land and also commercial properties worth hundreds of crores. It generates a revenue of close to Rs 200 crore from these properties every year. Also, eight educational institutions including a medical college will also come under HSGPC’s control.