Connecting over 25 millions NRIs worldwide
Most trusted Name in the NRI media
Sehajdhari Sikh-


Punjab Govt decides to move Supreme Court

Chandigarh, Dec 18, 2008
Express news service

It is not merely the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that is contemplating challenging Monday’s judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, striking down the Punjab Government notifications that reserved 50 per cent seats for Sikhs in educational institutions run by the community and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). The SAD-BJP government in the state, too, has decided to “study the judgment and challenge it in the apex court”. Sources told The Indian Express that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has already held a meeting on the issue and told Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal to file an appeal.

In its order, the High Court had ruled that Sikhs were not a minority in the state and hence, were not entitled to reservation in SGPC-run institutes.

Legal experts have informed the Chief Minister that the SGPC is governed by the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, and members are elected by Puran Sikhs (those who don’t sheer/ dye their hair and follow all the Sikh tenets) only. “A person who trims or shaves his beard or head, except in case of Sahajdhari Sikhs, smokes or takes alcoholic drinks is disqualified to be a member or a voter. A Keshdhari member also has to be an Amritdhari. These conditions also apply to Sikh students seeking admissions in SGPC-run institutions under the reserved category. That is why the judgment will be challenged,” said a senior government officer.

The High Court order had been passed on the petition of a student who had asserted that reservation of 50 per cent for Sikhs candidates had affected his chances of getting selected for admission in an SGPC-run institute. He had pointed out that as per the 2001 Census, Sikhs are in a majority in Punjab. Therefore, Sikh students could not be granted benefit of reservation meant for minority students, the petitioner had asserted.

Building the government’s case, AG Mattewal said the SGPC was an inter-state body, which controlled Gurdwaras in others states too apart from Punjab. “SGPC runs institutions in Haryana too. It is wrong to say that the government notifications that have been quashed by the High Court on Monday pertained to all Sikh institutions. The notification pertained to only minority institutions and general census can’t be applied strictly in this case. There are important Constitutional issues involved that need to be considered threadbare,” Mattewal said, adding that the Sikhs — as defined under the Sikh Gurdwara Act — are distinct from followers of other sects and communities. “Even if one goes by the 2001 census, the Sikhs who can take advantage of reservation in SGPC-run institutions are a minority. Our Special Leave Petition will try to put all these aspects in perspective before the Supreme Court,” Mattewal said.