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The management of the historical Gurdwaras of Delhi came into the hands of local Sikh electorate after enforcement of ‘Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1971 which came into existence after Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925.

In accordance with the provisions of this Act, the four years term 55 members Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) consists of 46 elected and 9 Co-opted members. The Co-opted members include one nominee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Sri Amritsar, Jathedar Sahiban of four Takhat i.e. Sri Akal Takhat Sahib Sri Amritsar, Sri Kesgarh Sahib Sri Anandpur Sahib, Sri Harmandir Sahib Patna (Bihar) and Sri Hazur Sahib Nanded (Maharashtra), two members out of the Presidents of the Registered Singh Sabha Gurdwaras of Delhi to be chosen by draw of lots and two members to represent the Sikh Community of Delhi to be chosen by the newly elected 46 members respectively.

As such, the preliminary general election of members of the DSGMC under this Act were held by the government in March 1975 and first Committee was constituted on April 28, 1975 accordingly. Thereafter, further elections were held in the year 1975, 1979, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2017 and recently on August 22, 2021. Presently, the DSGMC having annual income of more than Rs. 150 Crore is managing the historical and other Gurdwaras in Delhi apart from managing various Schools, Colleges, Polytechnics, Engineering & Management Colleges, Institutions, Hospitals, Dispensaries and Old Age Homes etc.

The current general elections of Delhi were conducted by the government on August 22 and results were declared on August 25, 2021 accordingly. In accordance with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwaras Act, a meeting for Co-option of members was called by the Director Gurdwara Elections on September 9, 2021. But after the election of 2 Sikh representatives of Delhi, this meeting was adjourned due to some reasons which was protested by some DSGMC members of Badal faction who created ruckus and tried to physically attack the Director Gurdwara Elections brutally.

During that time, objections were also raised against the nomination of Mr. Manjinder Singh Sirsa as a nominee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee (SGPC) on the grounds that he is unable to read and write Gurmukhi (Punjabi) which is mandatory under the Act, hence his nomination should be cancelled. The matter reached the Delhi High Court and on the direction of the Hon’ble Court, a written test in Gurmukhi language for Mr. Sirsa was conducted by the Director Elections on September 17 and as per report of the Director Mr Sirsa was not able to qualify the test and hence the SGPC was advised to send another person as its nominee. The SGPC approached the Delhi High Court for setting aside the Orders of the Election Director for which the hearing was fixed for October 8, 2021. But due to paucity of time the hearing could not be conducted on that day, which has now been fixed for October 22, 2021.

Whereas in accordance with the Delhi Gurdwaras Act, it was mandatory to constitute the new Executive Board of DSGMC before September 25, 2021 but even the process of Co-option of members has still not been completed. Despite that the Director Gurdwara Election had called another meeting on September 24 in which after the Co-option of 4 Jathedar Sahibans of Sikh Takhts, draw of lots for Co-option of Presidents of Sikh Sabhas was taken out but objections were raised by some members. In view of this, 5 names of President of Singh Sabhas instead of 2 required names were drawn out in violation of Gurdwara rules, more interestingly that their names have still not been finalized and notification thereof has not been issued although a period of more than 2 weeks has elapsed.

It is pertinent to mention that recently the government counsel has given an undertaking in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court that no action will be taken to constitute a new Executive Body of DSGMC till the matter regarding Co-option of Mr. Sirsa is decided, whereas the election process has been started which cannot be stopped under any law. New history has been created during the present Delhi Gurdwara election like non-completion of Co-option process despite holding of two meetings, draw of lots of 5 Presidents of Singh Sabhas instead of mandatory 2 Presidents and stopping of election process midway thereby not constituting the new Committee within its stipulated time period etc. In view of these circumstances, there are apprehensions that the constitution of new Committee could be deferred for further indefinite time.

About the author:
Inder Mohan Singh

Inder Mohan Singh Inder Mohan Singh, an expert in Delhi Gurdwara elections is a member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. While in government service with the Delhi government he was behind the conduct of Gurdwara body polls from 1977 to 2006. He takes active part in religious deliberations in the Delhi Gurdwara body.

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