Parliament Passes Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to Disentitle Sahejdhari Sikhs [ Current Affairs ]

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The Parliament has passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to remove given right to Sahejdhari Sikhs to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees. The amendment bill was passed first in the Rajya Sabha in March 2016 and later in the Lok Sabha in April 2016.

About Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

  • This amendment bill removes allowance given to Sahejdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to members of the Board and the Committees established under the parent Act.
  • It will remove rights given to Sahejdhari Sikhs, who trim or shave their beard or hair from giving their votes in elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
  • The planned amendment was passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification from October 2003 that had banned Sahejdhari Sikhs voting rights.
  • The notification was issued in use of the powers of the Parliament under section 72 of the Punjab Re-Organisation Act, 1966.
  • The Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Home Ministry to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, with effect from October 8, 2003.

About passing of Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill:

  • The Bill was suggested after the High Court of Punjab and Haryana quashed the MHA’s notification.
  • Sahejdhari Sikhs are continuously giving votes as per their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections since 1949.
  • Under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, every Sikh who is above 21 years of age and is registered as a voter is entitled to vote in the SGPC elections.
  • So, this Act had removed the right from Sahejdhari Sikhs who trim or shave their beard or hair.

- Published on: April 26, 2016