Chandigarh, Aug 7 IANS | 4 months ago

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Thursday said his government is not trying to take control of gurdwaras in Haryana.

He said the Haryana government would abide by Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court which directed that status quo be maintained on control of gurdwaras in Haryana.

Asked to comment on the Supreme Court direction, Hooda said: "The state government would abide by the decision of Supreme Court in the matter of separate SGPC for Haryana. The Supreme Court has directed that separate account would be maintained for gurdwaras of Haryana."

Hooda said it was not the state government which was to take the possession of gurdwaras but a separate Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (HSGPC) has been constituted to manage and run gurdwaras in the state.

He said that his government will not allow anyone to take law into his hands.

Hooda said that he had already appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and President of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) Avtar Singh Makkar to give the Sikhs of Haryana their due right to serve and manage gurdwaras in Haryana.

The Supreme Court Thursday directed SGPC and the new constituted HSGPC to maintain status quo in respect of all the 52 gurdwaras in Haryana as of 2.30 p.m. Thursday.

The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice R.M. Lodha directed SGPC and HSGPC to open separate bank accounts to deposit the offerings by devotees in these 52 gurdwaras.

The court also directed the police chief of the state to take all steps to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident.

Of the 52 gurdwaras in respect of which the status quo has to be maintained, eight are of historical importance, 17 are those which have an earning of Rs.20 lakh per annum and each of the remaining gurdwaras are earning less than Rs.20 lakh per annum.

The court's direction came on a petition by Harbhajan Singh - a member of SGPC from Kurukshetra - seeking the invalidation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act 2014, contending that it was ultra vires of the constitution and the state assembly had no power to enact it.

Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC are locked in a bitter controversy with the Hooda government over the creation of the HSGPC. They have both strongly opposed the creation of the new HSGPC for Haryana Sikh shrines.

On June 11, the Haryana assembly had passed a bill under which a new committee would be set up to manage gurdwaras in Haryana. The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, got the assent of the Haryana governor June 14.

The SGPC, the mini-parliament of Sikh religious affairs, which controls gurdwaras across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over gurdwaras in Haryana with the new law.

The SGPC, which has a Rs.950-crore annual budget, controls a majority of the gurdwaras in Punjab, including the holiest of all Sikh shrines 'Harmandar Sahib' (popularly known as Golden Temple) in Amritsar.

(Posted on 07-08-2014)

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