Chandigarh, June 19, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Justice Nirmal Singh (Retd.) in a letter written to the Union Home Minister has requested for enhancing the seats of Scheduled Caste by amending “The Sikh Gurdwara Act. 1925”. He has also urged Union Home Minister, Sh. Amit Shah to intervene to announce the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee elections at the earliest.
In the letter written by Justice Nirmal Singh (Retd.) while drawing the attention of Home Minister, Sh. Amit Shah, into the present strength of scheduled castes in the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, has highlighted that while keeping in view the supreme sacrifice of Scheduled Caste Sikhs made for Nation and Sikh Panth the reservation for Scheduled Caste should be enhanced so that Scheduled Caste members can participate properly in the Gurudwara Management.
“Instead of double constituencies there should be a single-member constituency system,” reads the letter sent by Justice Nirmal Singh (Retd.) to the Union Minister.
He said that the sacrifice of the Scheduled Caste for Sikh Panth is beyond words. The 10th Guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh Ji regarded them as his sons.
Justice Nirmal Singh (Retd.) further said that the Government of India has already appointed the Chief Gurudwara Election Commissioner for conducting the election to the house of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee as the term of the house of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee has already been completed.
Hence, he has requested the Union Home Minister that necessary amendment should be made in the Sikh Gurudwara Act 1925 to enhance the seats of Scheduled Castes as proportionate to the population of the Scheduled Caste Sikhs at the earliest.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee is a statutory body comprising elected representatives of the Sikhs concerned primarily with the management of sacred Sikh shrines under its control within the territorial limits of Punjab. Haryana. Himachal Pradesh and the Union territory of Chandigarh.
It originated with the Gurdwara Reform of the early 1920s, which lasted until 1925 when the Gurudwara bill was placed on the statute book with the emergence of The Sikh Gurudwara Act. 1925.
Meanwhile, for the management of Gurudwaras, the present strength of the house is 191 members, out of which 170 members are elected from the State of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory, Chandigarh while 15 members are nominated from all over the country and further six members including Jathedars of five Takhts and Head Granthi of Shri Darbar Sahib, Shri Amritsar Sahib.
Throwing light on the reserved seats in the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, there are only 20 seats which are reserved in double constituencies for the Scheduled Caste Sikhs and 30 seats are reserved for women out of the total of 170 members. No further reservation was given to Scheduled Castes women.
The participation of Scheduled Castes in the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee is inadequate which comes out to be 11-12 per cent of the total members and further, no reservation was given to Scheduled caste women. Its impact is seen in the committee from last many years as the members are being dominated by the General category candidates.
As per the census 2011, Punjab has the highest proportion of Scheduled Caste population in the country with 31.94 per cent as the overall population. 38 per cent of the population of the Sikhs has scheduled castes. In the state assembly, 34 out of 117 seats in the state of Punjab, 17 out of 73 seats in Haryana and 17 out of 48 seats in the state of Himachal Pradesh are reserved for the scheduled caste as such their proportion is high as compared to the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.