HC stays order on voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikh

Punjab and Haryana HC stayed its September 1 ruling allowing Sehajdharis to exercise franchise in the Sept 18 SGPC elections.

Chandigarh: Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court
today stayed its September 1 ruling allowing Sehajdharis
(non-baptised Sikhs) to exercise franchise in the Sept 18
SGPC elections following a petition by the Centre seeking
recall of the order.

The full bench of the court also issued notices to
Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), SGPC, states of Punjab and
Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh on the petition of the
Centre and asked them to submit their reply on September 13.

The September 1 ruling came after senior advocate
Harbhagwan Singh told the court that the Centre had decided to
withdraw a 2003 notification, which was challenged by SSF,
preventing Sehajdhari from participating in the SGPC polls.
However, a day after the court order, the government came
out with a clarification that neither has it withdrawn the
notification nor does it plan to take any such action, after
the ruling drew angry reaction from the Shiromani Akali Dal
and SGPC.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram gave a statement in
Parliament that, "Neither the Ministry of Law nor the Ministry
of Home Affairs had given a vakalatnama to Harbhagwan Singh.
No one from the government had briefed him. In particular, he
had no authority to make the statement that the notification
dated October 8, 2003 would be withdrawn."
Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Assistant Solicitor General of India
submitted that on September 1 Singh made an averment which was
not authorised to be made on behalf of central government, in
particular with regard to notification and instructions were
not given to that effect.

On the other hand Mukesh Berry, Additional Advocate
General Punjab alleged that there seeemed to be "great
conspiracy" of the petitioner with the central government and
pleaded that the court seek an explanation from Harbhagwan
Singh in this regard.

However, the bench asked him to make submissions in


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