Rajya Sabha on 16 March 2016 passed the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to exclude Sehajdharis from voting in Sikh body polls. The Bill envisages amending certain provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 retrospectively with effect from October 2003.
Key Features of the Amendment Bill
It proposed to remove the exception given to Sehajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections for selecting members of the board and the committees constituted under the Act.
The proposed amendment was carried out by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Notification on 8 October 2003 that had debarred Sahjdhari Sikhs voting rights. As Sehajdhari Sikhs are continuously exercising their voting rights in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections since 1949.
However, the notification was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 20 December 2011, leaving it to the appropriate and competent legislature to decide as to whether or not to amend the Act to that effect.
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What: Approved by Rajya Sabha
When: 16 March 2016