Supreme Court Upholds Validity Of Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act 2014

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20 Sep 2022 5:10 AM GMT

  • Supreme Court Upholds Validity Of Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act 2014

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act 2014 and dismissed the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Act.A bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vikram Nath delivered the judgment in a writ petition filed in 2014 by a man named Harbhajan Singh, a member of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee(SGPC). In...

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act 2014 and dismissed the petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Act.

    A bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vikram Nath delivered the judgment in a writ petition filed in 2014 by a man named Harbhajan Singh, a member of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee(SGPC). In 2019, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee also filed a writ petition challenging the Act.

    Justice Gupta, who read out the operative part, said that the petitions have been dismissed and the validity of the Act has been upheld. Full judgment is yet to be uploaded.

    The petitioner challenged the Haryana legislation by arguing that the State Legislature lacked the power to create a body for Gurudwara management as such power was reserved with the Parliament. The Haryana law was challenged as violative of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, the State Reorganisation Act, 1956, the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 as well as the InterĀ­State Corporation Act, 1957.

    On March 29, the Court had overruled the preliminary objection raised by the State of Haryana regarding the maintainability of the petitions and decided to consider the matter on merits.

    The Court considered the following issues:

    (i) Whether any fundamental rights of the petitioners under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India are violated, so as to entitle the petitioners to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution?

    (ii) Whether Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Inter-State Corporation Act, 1957 were transitional provisions to meet the immediate requirement of the issues arising out of creation of separate States?

    (iii) Whether the impugned enactment (Haryana Act) falls within the legislative competence of the Haryana State Legislature or does it fall under Entry 44 of List I of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution?

    (iv) Whether the Impugned Act falls in List-III (Concurrent List) of Schedule VII, which required the assent of the President of India as per Article 254(2) of the Constitution of India, and in the absence of such assent, void?.

    State reorganization Act does not take away the legislative competence of the state legislature

    The Court found that beither the 1956 Act nor the 1966 Act nor the 1957 Act has taken away the legislative competence of the States to legislate on the subjects which finds mention in List II of the Seventh Schedule and/or in respect of matters falling in List III of the Seventh Schedule in the manner prescribed.

    It held that the Haryana Act falls within the legislative competence of the State, as incorporation of a statutory body falls in Entry 32 of List II, as also unincorporated religious and other societies.

    Act not violative of Article 25 rights

    "The Haryana Act is similar to the 1925 Act having similar provisions of constituting a committee to manage the affairs under the Act. The Haryana Committee is the Committee constituted under Section 3 of the Haryana Act for the management and control of the Gurdwaras and Gurdwara properties within the State of Haryana. The Gurdwara property in terms of Section 2(f) of the Haryana Act means all movable and immovable properties of a Gurdwara or any institution which, immediately before the appointed day, vested or was kept in deposit in the name of any Board, Trust, Committee, Gurdwara Management or was being regulated under the provisions of the 1925 Act. The members of the Committee have to be elected from the eligible voters who is Amritdhari Sikh, a Sikh, and who is eighteen years of age, but not a Patit Sikh and is not an insolvent, mentally retarded or an insane person. The co-option is from the members of the community alone. Therefore, the affairs of the religious minority in the State i.e., Sikhs is left in the hands of the Sikhs alone in the same manner as was under the 1925 Act. The Haryana Act also provides for Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission in the same manner as is provided under the 1925 Act. The affairs of the Gurdwara are again required to be managed by local Gurdwara Committee. Since the affairs of the Sikh minority in the State are to be managed by the Sikhs alone, therefore, it cannot be said to be violative of any of the fundamental rights conferred under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution".

    Case Title : Harbhajan Singh versus State of Haryana and others (WP(c) 735/2014)

    Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 782

    Summary - Supreme Court upholds Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act 2014- Holds that Haryana State legislature has competence to enact the said Act- The Act does not violate the rights of Sikhs under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution- Since the affairs of the Sikh minority in the State are to be managed by the Sikhs alone, therefore, it cannot be said to be violative of any of the fundamental rights conferred under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution

     Click here to read/download the judgment



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