Thursday, July 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

5-man Bench to hear SGPC plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s petition seeking the quashing of a notification whereby the previously constituted Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission was ordered to be restored, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that the case should be heard by a larger Bench of five judges on July 15.

In its petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Arun B. Saharya and Mr Justice J.S. Khehar, the committee had also sought the quashing of a notification rescinding an earlier notification vide which Manmohan Singh Brar, Ajwant Singh Mann and Amrik Singh were appointed as Judicial Commission members upon its reconstitution.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had contended that on January 6, 1999, a notification was issued removing Dara Singh, Kashmir Singh and Raghbir Singh as members of the Judicial Commission and appointing other members in their place. Mr Dara Singh and Mr Kashmir Singh subsequently filed a petition in the High Court challenging their removal and appointment of other members. The matter was referred by a Division Bench of the High Court to a larger Bench. The judgement was reserved after the conclusion of the arguments.

However, during the assembly elections in February, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, considered a rival of the Shiromani Akali Dal, joined hands with the Congress party. As a part of the design to enable Mr Tohra regain his lost position, the Congress government has issued the impugned notification.

Describing the notification as a “blatant interference in matters pertaining to Sikh religion”, counsel for the petitioner had added that the same was “illegal and liable to be quashed”.

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