Wednesday, March 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SGJC stays Jathedar’s selection
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, March 11
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) Bench today ordered status quo as it exists today to be maintained by the SGPC. It said no new Jathedar be appointed in place of Prof Manjit Singh by the SGPC till March 26 reserved as the next date for hearing in the case.

The two-member SGJC Bench headed by chairman Kashmir Singh Patti and member Raghbir Singh admitted the petition under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 and announced this interim order at 12.30 pm today.

The petition challenging the removal of Jathedar Manjit Singh of Takht Kesgarh Sahib was filed by the president of the Sikh Forum, Punjab, Capt Channan Singh Sidhu.

The petitioner had stated that Prof Manjit Singh’s appointment was made in accordance with the service rules of the SGPC, which is applicable to all persons duly appointed by SGPC on different posts from time to time. The appointments, promotions, suspensions, transfers, dismissals etc of all appointees are governed by the service rules. The petitioner added that Jathedar Manjit Singh was not served any show-cause notice, nor issued any charge sheet or inquiry ordered. He was also not provided any opportunity to defend himself before being sacked.

Mr Ajay Vermani, counsel for the petitioner, pleaded that the case be admitted under the Sikh Gurdwara Act and no new appointment should be made to replace Prof Manjit Singh till the court verdict.

Mr MS Gill, counsel for the defendant, pointed out that the Sikh Forum had no locus standi under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act to file a petition on someone else’s behalf. He also argued that since Jathedars were not paid employees, the service rules of the SGPC did not govern them. However, Mr Vermani had argued that any common Sikh aggrieved by the removal of a Jathedar or any other conduct of the SGPC could appeal for intervention by the SGJC.

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