Hard-pressed by its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – Badal to intervene, the BJP-led Ccentral government is expected to press for annulment of the Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act that challenges the supremacy of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) on maintaining it over Gurudwaras.
The controversial Act passed recently by the Haryana government has led to a lot of furore especially among the ruling SAD (Badal) in Punjab that controls Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), and is wary of its powers getting diminished over hundreds of cash-rich Gurdwaras because of the HSGM Act.
Highly placed sources said that the Centre had almost made up its mind to intervene in the matter by raising it through the governor but later decided against it when the matter went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the division bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Arun Palli issued a notice of motion to eight respondents - Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Union of India, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) and SGPC.
The Centre, sources said, is expected maintain that the Sikh Gurduwara Act of 1925 was enacted as a Central subject under Section 45-A of the Government of India Act, 1919 and thus the enactment of HSGM Act should be annulled as it cannot repeal a Central Act.
During the course of hearing, the Centre is also expected to argue that the Haryana Legislative Assembly was not competent to enact the Act as the SGPC became an inter-state body corporate with the reorganisation of the Punjab state through the Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 and with it the Sikh Gurudwara Act of 1925 assumed the character of a Central Act and was amended by the central government through various notifications.
However, officials who are dealing with the subject say that this argument by the Centre could be difficult to maintain as the HSGM Act was essentially a money bill and the state government has every right to pass such a bill.