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Kuldip Singh for Scrapping the Sikh Gurdwaras Act


The Tribune, Amritsar, Nov. 25, 2003

Even as the general house of the S.G.P.C. [Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee] has passed a unanimous resolution for the enactment of the All India Gurdwaras Act, Justice [Retd.] Kuldip Singh, former chief of the World Sikh Council [W.S.C.] and chairman of the Delimitation Commission, Government of India, along with Sikh scholar J.S. Neki (former director of P.G.I.) have sought the scrapping of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925.

They opined that instead of elections there should be a selection of religious leaders for managing the gurdwaras. The Sikh Gurdwaras Act was grossly misused by religious leaders having vested interests in the appointment of Sikh high-priests and removal of jathedars [high-priests] who failed to toe the line of those at the helm of affairs. The Act had also been misused by successive governments in the past, they added.

Kuldip Singh said the Act had contributed to the reformation of the management of the gurdwaras in the beginning. However, there was no need for such an Act under the prevailing circumstances. He said the new draft for selecting religious leaders could be prepared on the lines of the People's Representative Act. He criticised the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh and Giani Puran Singh as jathedars in the past. He said except for Bhai Ranjit Singh the successive jathedars remained inactive.