"The state Governor has given his assent to the Bill today," the Chief Minister told reporters here. "Now the Bill has become an Act," he said.
The Haryana Assembly on July 11 passed a Bill for the formation of a separate body to manage affairs of gurdwaras in the state even as main opposition parties INLD and BJP staged a walkout, calling the move a "conspiracy" by Congress to "divide" the Sikh community.
The Bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Randeep Surjewala and was passed with a voice vote in the absence of the INLD and BJP members. It was also by the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and other groups. Congress had promised formation of a separate SGPC in its poll manifesto in 2005, but it could not happen during Hooda's first term and was taken up during his second term.
Hooda: Now the Bill has become an Act
The next Assembly elections are due in Haryana in October this year. Governor Pahadia is superannuating this month-end. "The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014 is to provide for better autonomous management and effective supervision of gurdwaras and gurdwara properties in Haryana and matters related thereto," the Bill states. H S Chattha (now state Finance Minister) headed the state committee which had recommended formation of a separate SGPC for Haryana.
With the Bill becoming an Act, the provisions of Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 would cease to have any application within the territory of Haryana, the Bill mentions. According to the Bill, a committee namely Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee will be established for proper management and control of the gurdwaras and their properties within the state.
The committee with 40 members will be elected for a five-year term by Sikh voters of Haryana.
It will have its head office at Kurukshetra and regional offices at Panchkula and Jind. Under the provisions of the Bill, till the elections are held after the enforcement of this Act, an ad-hoc Committee comprising 41 members will be nominated by the government to manage, supervise and take over all assets of the gurdwaras.
On being asked if Sahajdhri Sikhs will be under SGPC in Haryana, Hooda said the issue is sub-judice and the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.