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Dera Row
SC declines to take up petitions
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 4
The Supreme Court today declined to intervene in the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy, saying it was a religious issue on which no writ mandamus could be issued. It also stated that the tension arising out of the situation was purely a law and order problem that had to be essentially handled by the government agencies.

Expressing displeasure over the attempts to time and again invoke the court’s jurisdiction on religious matters, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and D K Jain, stated: “Can we ever say that a person should be allowed to wear a dress in a particular manner? Whatever you have asked for in the petition is for the government to decide, not the courts. Don’t bring a matter to this court in which it has no role to play… like the dress code or the law and order problem,” the Bench said.

This query was in the context of allegations against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh attiring himself like Guru Gobind Singh. This issue was raised in a PIL filed by Harvinder Kaur.

When Kaur insisted that the apex court had earlier too entertained petitions on religious issues, the Bench said, “We are becoming wiser every day… we are being told to be wise…”

Reacting to the plea of Dera Sacha Sauda counsel Rajiv Dhawan that the deras faced a threat of closure, apparently from Akal Takhat, the Bench said, “Sensitisation of the issue should not involve the court… it is not the court’s job to decide where the BSF or Army should be deployed… for that, you have to approach the government.”

It was also stated that the Punjab and Haryana High Court was already monitoring the case and had passed some orders. SC declines to take up dera petitions

As Dhawan said the problem was not confined to the jurisdiction of Punjab and Haryana High Court but some other states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir were also involved, the Bench said, “The genesis of the problem is essentially Punjab.”

After the court had passed an order dismissing Kaur’s PIL and the petition of Dera Sacha Sauda trustee Abhijeet Bhagat, both the petitioners sought to withdraw them, saying they would prefer to move the National Human Rights Commission.

While terming Kaur’s PIL as “misconceived” and Dera’s petition not maintainable, the Bench permitted the withdrawal by recording the statements of their lawyers.

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