Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Sikh Marriage Act

[ Dear Friends, I have written a letter to all the MP's representing Punjab in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.The purpose is to request them to advocate comprehensive Sikh Marriage Act in the parliament (copy is reproduced). I have also written a letter to Ms. Sonia Gandhi with the same purpose in view. A draft comprehensive Sikh Marriage Act. has been enclosed with the letters (Copy reproduced here). It is necessary that those who can, must write to our MP's and other leaders requesting them to enact a comprehensive full fledged, proper Act. - Regards, Gurtej Singh]

Urgent for Legislative purposes
To: The Honourable
Member Lok Sabha                                                         

From: Gurtej Singh,                                                                
742, Sector 8,                                                              
April 28, 2012
Subject: Suggestions regarding the Sikh Marriage Act under active consideration of the parliament

      One is generally aware that a Sikh Marriage Act is under consideration of the parliament. The shape, scope and content of the proposal is a mystery, as contrary to general practice nothing about it has been made public officially. It was suspected from certain hints appearing in the Media that a provision for registration alone was to be added to the skeletal Anand Marriage Act of 1909. This matter was widely debated in the visual and print media and the general opinion that emerged from the exercise was that the resultant product would be grossly inadequate. In that form it would serve almost no purpose expected of the legislation by the Sikhs since 1955.
      The Sikhs are a distinct people representing a distinguishable culture. They expect the country’s parliament to enact a personal law for them that would reflect the ground reality.
      Last evening at about 5 PM, I received a call from Sardar Tarlochan Singh ex-MP. It became known that he was the prime mover of the proposed legislation and the worst fears that it is severely limited in scope came to be known. As feared the proposal merely aims at adding a provision for registration.
      Sardar Tarlochan Singh revealed that he has consulted certain persons before framing the proposal. It was found that the persons consulted by him had no knowledge of law or the Sikh culture but were peripheral or nominated members of certain management committees and institutions, notoriously ill-equipped to give opinion on such matters.
      I wish to bring it to your kind notice that this is grossly inadequate and will not afford any material or psychological comfort to the Sikh people. A marriage law needs to define the ceremony, the parties thereto and has to provide for other situations related to the institution of marriage. A more comprehensive law is necessary.
      In December 2007, an exercise was done to draft a model Sikh Marriage Bill. It has been closely scrutinised by some of the well known legal luminaries and has been approved by them

unreservedly. I have the honour to send a draft of the comprehensive proposal for your consideration and approval. If desired it may be circulated for wider consultation. I am certain each MP moves in a circle of well informed jurists who will be in a position to give opinion on the draft Bill. Since all our MPs are so well informed on matters pertaining to Sikh culture and customs, they will be able to make choices that represent the general will of the Sikh people.
      The proposed bill is just a draft. It may kindly be used with or without amendments to augment the proposal pending before the parliament for consideration. If used thus it may go a long way in transforming the exercise in futility that is about to be undertaken, into a worthwhile venture.
      I dare to encroach on your valuable time in the fond belief that this communication may help you in some slight degree to perform your duties to the people of the country a wee bit better.

                                                                                                                       Yours sincerely,
 (Gurtej Singh)

Urgent for Legislative purposes

To:  The Houourable 
        Ms Sonia Gandhi MP 
        Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance
        10, Janpath, New Delhi-110001.

From: Gurtej Singh                                                                            
           742, Sector 8
          April 28, 2012                                                                         
Subject: Suggestions regarding the Sikh Marriage Act under active consideration of the parliament.

      I am the aam admi – who fits perfectly into the mould envisaged by your government. I am flattered by the attention that your government pays to inconsequential people like me. It is this consideration that emboldens me to write to you.
      I have serious misgivings about the kind of Anand Marriage Act that is being crafted by the government under the leadership of your party. I believe that a mere amendment providing for registration will not turn the century old Act into an   instrument capable of coping with the needs of modern day living. A full fledged Act comprising of rules regulating the different aspects of married life will be necessary.
      In December 2007, an attempt was made to prepare a comprehensive Sikh Marriage Act. The resultant document was shown to several prominent legal persons. They found it in order. It is enclosed herewith (as Appendix A). I write with the faith that it will receive adequate attention from your party and if found to be in order, it will be incorporated into the present Act to the extent possible.
      The gift of Sikh Marriage Act that your party plans to give to the people must become workable and must not remain a dead letter.
      In this connection I have written a letter to some MPs from the Punjab, I am enclosing the format (Appendix B) for your information and in elaboration of the above.

                                                                                                                  Yours sincerely,
 (Gurtej Singh)

An Act to amend, enact and codify the Law relating to Marriage among the Sikhs.

1.       Short Title, Extent and Commencement:-
          (i)      This Act may be called the Sikh Marriage Act, 2012.
(ii)      It extends to the Union of India.
          (iii)    It shall come into force at once.

2.       Application of the Act:-
This Act applies to any person who is a SIKH by religion.
3.       Definitions:-
           For the purpose of this Act
(a)          The expression “SIKH” means a person who believes in Akalpurakh (One Eternal Being), the ten Gurus from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, accepts Guru Granth Sahib as the Eternal Guru and does not subscribe to any other religion.
EXPLANATION:- The following persons are SIKHS:-
(i)           Any child legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Sikhs by religion;
(ii)   Any child legitimate or illegitimate who is brought up as a Sikh and one of whose parents is a Sikh.
(b)     “Anand Karaj Ceremony” means a marriage ceremony solemnized by at least two Sikhs between the consenting couple in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The “Anand Karaj Ceremony” shall be deemed to have been completed when the four “lawan” revealed by the fourth Guru in Rag Suhi are recited and the “Ardas” is performed.
(c)        the expression "custom" and "usage" signify any rule which having been continuously and uniformly observed for a long time, has obtained the force of law among Sikhs in any local area, tribe, community, group or family:
Provided that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to basic tenets of the Sikh faith; and
Provided further that in the case of a rule applicable only to a family, it has not been discontinued by the family;
Explanation:-  The burden to prove the custom or usage will be upon the person who alleges the custom or usage.

(d)          "District Court" means, court of District Judge and includes Additional District Judge, or any other civil court which may be specified by the Union or State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, as having jurisdiction in respect of matters dealt with in this Act;
(e)        "full blood” and "half blood"- two persons are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife and by half blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives;
(f)      "uterine blood" - two persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestress but by different husbands.
Explanation.- In Clauses (e) and (f) "ancestor" includes the father and "ancestress" the mother;
(g)     "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(h)     “parties” means “bridegroom and the bride” or the “husband and the wife”, as the case may be.
(i)      "degrees of prohibited relationship " - two persons are said to be within the "degrees of prohibited relationship"-
(i)      if one is a lineal ascendant of the other; or
(ii)     if one was the wife or husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other; or
(iii)    if one was the wife of the father’s or mother’s brother or of the grandfather's or grandmother's brother of the other; or
(iv)    if the two are brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or of two sisters.
Explanation- for the purposes of clause (i) relationship includes:-
(i)      relationship by half or uterine blood as well as by full blood;
(ii)     illegitimate blood relationship as well as legitimate;
(iii)    relationship by adoption as well as by blood; and all terms of relationship in those clauses shall be construed accordingly.
4.       Overriding effect of this Act:- Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act.-
(a)      any text, rule or interpretation of law with respect to Sikhs or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall cease to have effect with respect to any matter for which provision is made in this Act;
(b)     any other law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions contained in this Act.
Sikh Marriage
5.       Conditions for a Sikh Marriage:- A Sikh marriage shall be solemnized by Anand Karaj between a male and a female who are Sikhs if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
(i)      neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;
(ii)     at the time of the marriage neither party is of unsound mind;
(iii)    the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty-one years and the bride the age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage;
(iv)    the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
6.       Registration of Sikh Marriages:-
(1)     The registration of a Sikh Marriage shall be compulsory.
(2)   The Union or State Government shall appoint a Registrar of Sikh Marriages in each revenue district and a Sub-registrar at the tehsil level and also such other officer for this purpose as required.
(3)   Parties to the Sikh Marriage shall get the particulars relating to their marriage entered in such manner and subject to such condition as may be prescribed, in a Sikh Marriage Register kept for the purpose, within six months of the solemnisation of the marriage and the failure to do so will be punishable with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
(4)     The Sikh Marriage Register shall at all reasonable times be open for inspection and shall be admissible as evidence of the statements contained therein and certified extracts there from shall, on application, be given free of cost by the Registrar, the Sub-registrar or any other officer prescribed for this purpose.
(5)   Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the validity of any Sikh marriage, for the purpose of this Act, shall in no way be affected by the omission to register the marriage.
Restitution of Conjugal Rights And Judicial Separation
7.       Restitution of conjugal rights:- When either the husband or the wife has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply, by petition to the district court, for restitution of conjugal rights and the court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition and that there is no legal ground why the application should not be granted, may pass decree of restitution of conjugal rights accordingly.
Explanation- Where a question arises whether there has been reasonable excuse for withdrawal from the society, the burden of proving reasonable excuse shall be on the person who has withdrawn from the society.
8.       Judicial Separation:-
(1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act,  may present a petition praying for a decree for judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of section 11, and in the case of a wife also on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (2) thereof, as grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented.
(2)  Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it shall no longer be obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent, but the court may, on the application by petition of either party and on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such petition, rescind the decree if it considers it just and reasonable to do so.
Nullity of Marriage and Divorce
9.       Void marriages:- Any Sikh marriage solemnized after the commencement of this Act shall be null and void and may, on a petition presented by either party thereto, against the other party be so declared by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of the conditions specified in clauses (i)and (iv), of Section 5.
         Provided, that wherein, the marriage is null and void due to contravention of condition specified in clause (i) of Section 5, the legally wedded husband or wife, either of whom is not a party to the contravention of the above mentioned condition, shall also be entitled to present a petition under this section.
10.     Voidable Marriages:-
(1)     Any Sikh marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely:-
(a)      that the marriage has not been consummated owing to the impotency of the respondent; or
(b)     that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of Section 5; or
(c)      that the consent of the petitioner for marriage was obtained by force or by fraud as to the nature of the ceremony or as to any material fact or circumstance concerning the respondent; or
(d)     that the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other then the petitioner;
 (2)    Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no petition for annulling a marriage on the ground specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained if-
(i)      the petition is presented more than one year after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered ; or
(ii)     the petitioner has, with his or her full consent, lived with the other party to the marriage as husband or wife after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered.

11.     Divorce:-
(1)     Any Sikh marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of the Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party:-
(i)      has, after the solemnization of the marriage contracted another marriage or has had voluntary sexual intercourse with any person other than his or her spouse; or
(ii)     has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with cruelty; or
(iii)    has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
Explanation – In this sub-section the expression "desertion" means the desertion of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage without reasonable cause and without the consent or against the wish of such party, and includes the wilful neglect of the petitioner by the other party to the marriage, and its grammatical variations and cognate expression shall be construed accordingly.
(iv)    has ceased to be a Sikh by conversion to another religion; or
(v)         has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
Explanation - In this clause,
(a)    the expression "mental disorder" means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind and includes schizophrenia;
(b)  the expression "psychopathic disorder" means a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including sub-normality of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the other party, and whether or not it require or is susceptible to medical treatment; or
 (vi)   has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or
(vii)   has been suffering from AIDS or any venereal disease of a communicable nature; or
 (viii) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive;
(ix)    has been finally convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years or more;
(2)     A Sikh marriage, whether solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, may also be dissolved on presentation of a petition in this regard by the party in whose favour a decree of restitution of conjugal rights has been passed on the ground:-
(i)      that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties; or
(ii)     that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to the marriage for a period of one year or upward after the passing of a decree of restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.
(3)     A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground-
 (i)     that the husband has, since the solemnization of the marriage, been guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality; or
(ii)     that in a suit or any proceedings for maintenance, a decree or order, as the case may be, has been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife notwithstanding that she was living apart and that since the passing of such decree or order, cohabitation between the parties has not been resumed for one year or more.
12.     Divorce by mutual consent:-
(1)     Subject to the provisions of this Act a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the District Court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage was solemnized before or after the commencement of this Act, on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
(2)     On the motion of both the parties made not earlier than six months after the date of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the mean time, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.
13.     No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage:-
(1)     Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any Court to entertain any petition under section 11 or 12 of this Act for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the court may, upon application made to it, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but, if it appears to the court at the hearing of the petition that petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any mis-representation or concealment of the nature of the case, the court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after the expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.
(2)     In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorce before the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.
14.    Divorced persons when may marry again:-
(1)     When a marriage has been dissolved by a decree of divorce and the time for filing appeal has expired without an appeal having been presented, it shall be lawful for either party to the marriage to marry again after six months has elapsed from the date of decree of dissolution of marriage.
(2)     Where an appeal has been presented against dissolution of marriage but has been dismissed, it shall be lawful for either party to the marriage, to marry again after six months has elapsed from the date of dismissal of the appeal.
15.     Legitimacy of children of void and voidable marriages:-
(1)     Notwithstanding that a marriage is null and void under Section 8, any child of such marriage who would have been legitimate if the marriage had been valid, shall be legitimate, whether such a child is born before or after the commencement of this Act, and whether or not a decree of nullity is granted in respect of the marriage under this Act and whether or not the marriage is held to be void otherwise than on a petition under this Act.
(2)     Where a decree of nullity is granted in respect of a voidable marriage under Section 10, any child begotten or conceived before the decree is made, who would have been the legitimate child of the parties to the marriage if, at the date of the decree it had been dissolved instead of being annulled, shall be deemed to be their legitimate child notwithstanding the decree of nullity.
(3)     Nothing contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be construed as conferring upon any child of a marriage which is null and void or which is annulled by a decree of nullity under Section 10, any rights in or to the property of any person, other than the parents, in any case where, but for the passing of this Act, such child would have been incapable of possessing or acquiring any such rights by reason of his not being the legitimate child of his parents.
16.     Punishment for contravention of certain other conditions for a Sikh marriage:-
(1)     Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage, is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year and may extend to three years and with a fine which shall not be less than twenty thousand rupees and may extend to one lakh of rupees.
 (2)   Where the court imposes a fine under sub-section (1) of this section, it shall also order the amount to be paid to aggrieved person out of the fine as payment of compensation, maintenance or costs.
 (3)    The proceedings under this section shall be undertaken by the court wherein the petition under section 9, 10, or 11 of this Act has been presented and it will be lawful for the court to convict a person under this section while deciding the petition under section 9, 10, or 11 of this Act and no separate complaint or criminal trial is required to be initiated before a court of Criminal jurisdiction.
17.     Maintenance Pendent-lite and expenses of proceedings:-  Where in any proceeding under this Act, it appears to the Court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay to the applicant the expenses of the proceeding and such monthly expenses as, having regard to the applicant's own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the Court to be reasonable, during the proceeding.
          Provided that the application for the payment to the expenses of the proceeding and such monthly expenses during the proceedings, shall, as far as possible be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the wife or the husband, as the case may be.
18.     Permanent alimony and maintenance:-
(1)     Any court exercising jurisdiction under this Act may, at the time of passing any decree or at any time subsequent thereto, on application made to it for the purposes by either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, order that the respondent shall pay to the applicant for her or his maintenance and support such gross sum or such monthly or periodical sum for a term not exceeding the life of the applicant as, having regard to the respondent's own income and other property, if any, the income and other property of the applicant, the conduct of the parties and other circumstances of the case, it may seem to the Court to be just, and any such payment may be secured, if necessary, by a charge on the immoveable property of the respondent.
          Explanation: The spouse of marriage which is void due to contravention of condition specified in clause (i) of section 5 of this Act, shall not be entitled to maintenance, permanent alimony or to claim any benefit under this section.
(2)     If the Court is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances of either party at any time after it has made an order under sub-section (1), it may at the instance of either party, vary, modify or rescind any such order in such manner as the court may deem just.
(3)     If the Court is satisfied that the party in whose favour an order has been made under this Section has re-married, it may at the instance of the other party vary, modify or rescind any such order in such manner as the court may deem just.
19.     Custody and maintenance of children:-  In any proceeding under this Act, the Court may, from time to time, pass such interim orders and make such provisions in the decree as it may deem just and proper with respect to the custody, maintenance and education of minor children, consistently with the wishes of children, wherever possible, and may, after the decree, upon application for said purpose, pass from time to time, all such orders and make provisions with respect to the custody, maintenance and education of such children as might have been made by such decree or interim orders in case the proceedings for obtaining such decree were still pending, and the Court may also from time to time revoke, suspend or vary any such orders and provisions previously made.
                   Provided, that the welfare of the minor children shall be the paramount consideration for the court while proceeding under this section.
          Provided that the application with respect to the maintenance and education of the minor children, pending the proceeding for obtaining such decree, shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the respondent.
20.     Court to which petition shall be presented:-
Every petition under this Act shall be presented to the District Court within the local limits of whose ordinary original civil jurisdiction:
(i)            the marriage was solemnized, or
(ii)         the respondent, at the time of the presentation of the petition, resides, or
(iii)       the parties to the marriage last resided together, or
(iv)        in case the wife is the petitioner, where she is residing on the date of presentation of the petition, or
(v)         the petitioner is residing at the time of the presentation of the petition, in a case where the respondent is at that time residing outside the territories to which this Act extends, or has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of him if he was alive.
21.     Contents of petitions and service of summons:-
(1)     Every petition presented under this Act shall state as distinctly as the nature of the case permits, the facts on which the claims to relief is founded and shall also state that there is no collusion between the petitioner and the other party to the marriage.
(2)     Every petition under this Act shall be verified by the petitioner or some other competent person in the manner required by law for the verification of plaints and shall also be supported by a duly sworn affidavit, and it may, at the hearing, be referred to as evidence.
 (3)    The court, under this Act:
  (a)   while passing an order for proceeding ex-parte against the respondent, if duly served or if has refused service or is evading service, shall ensure that the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure with regard to service of summons have been strictly followed and complied with.
  (b)   while the summons were returned with a report that the respondent has refused to accept or is evading service, the court shall, before passing order for proceeding ex-parte, order the service to respondent be affected through proclamation and publication in a leading newspaper of the region.
22.     Application of Code of Civil Procedure:- Subject to the other provisions contained in this Act and to such rules as framed under this Act, all proceedings under this Act shall be regulated, as far as may be, by the Code of Civil Procedure.
23.     Power to transfer petitions in certain cases:- 
(1)     Where-
(a)      a petition under this Act has been presented to a District Court having jurisdiction by a party to marriage praying for a decree of divorce under Section 11; and
(b)     another petition under this Act has been presented thereafter by the other party to the marriage praying for a decree of divorce under Section 11 on any ground, whether in the same District Court or in a separate District Court, in the same State or in a separate State, the petitions shall be dealt with as specified in sub-section (2).
(2)     In a case where sub-section (1) applies,-
(a)      if the petitions are presented to the same District Court, both the petitions shall be tried and heard together by that District Court;
(b)     if the petitions are presented to in separate District Courts, the petition presented later shall be transferred to the District Court in which the earlier petition was presented and both the petitions shall be heard and disposed of together by the District Court in which the earlier petition was presented.
(3)     In a case where clause (b) of sub-section (2) applies, the Court or the Government, as the case may be, competent under the Code of Civil Procedure, to transfer any suit or proceeding from the District Court in which the later petition has been presented to the District Court in which the earlier petition is pending, shall exercise its powers to transfer such later petition as if it had been empowered so to do under the said Code.
24.      Special provision relating to trial and disposal of petitions under the Act:-
          Every petition/appeal under this Act shall be tried as expeditiously as possible, and endeavour shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date of service of notice of the petition/appeal on the respondent
25.     Documentary and other evidence:-
       Notwithstanding anything in any enactment to the contrary, no                                                                                                  document shall be inadmissible in evidence in any proceeding at the trial of a petition under this Act on the ground that it is not duly stamped or registered.
26.     Proceedings to be in camera and may not be printed or published:-
(1)     Every proceeding under this Act shall be conducted in camera and it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to any such proceeding except a judgment of the High Court or of the Supreme Court printed or published with the previous permission of the Court.
(2)     If any person prints or publishes any matter in contravention of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees.
27.     Decree in proceedings.-
(1)     In any proceeding under this Act, whether defended or not, if the Court is satisfied that-
(a)      any of the grounds for granting relief exists and the petitioner is not any way taking advantage of his or her own wrong or disability for the purpose of such relief, and
(b)     where the ground of the petition is the ground specified in clause (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 11, the petitioner has not in any manner been accessory to or connived at or condoned the act or acts complained of, or where the ground of the petition is cruelty the petitioner has not in any manner condoned the cruelty, and
(c)      when a divorce is sought on the ground of mutual consent, such consent has not been obtained by force, fraud or undue influence, and
(d)     the petition is not presented or prosecuted in collusion with the respondent, and
(d)     there has not been any unnecessary or improper delay in instituting the proceeding, and
(e)      there is no other legal ground why relief should not be granted, then, and in such a case, but not otherwise, the court shall decree such relief accordingly.
(2)     Before proceeding to grant any relief under this Act, it shall be the duty of the Court in the first instance, in every case where it is possible so to do consistently with the nature and circumstances of the case, to make every endeavour to bring about a reconciliation between the parties:
                   Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall apply to any proceeding wherein relief is sought on any of the grounds specified in clause (iv), clause (v), clause (vi), clause (vii), clause (viii) or clause (ix) of sub-section (1) of Section 11.
 (3)    For the purpose of aiding the Court in bringing about such reconciliation, the court may, if the parties so desire or if the Court thinks it just and proper so to do adjourn the proceedings for a reasonable period and refer the matter to any person named by the parties in this behalf or to any person nominated by the Court if the parties fail to name any person, with directions to report to the Court as to whether reconciliation can be and has been effected and the court shall in disposing of the proceeding have due regard for the report.
(4)     In every case, the court passing the judgment or decree shall give a copy thereof free of cost to each of the parties. Wherein the respondent was proceeded against ex-parte, the copy of the judgement or the decree shall be sent to him by a registered post.
28.    Relief for respondent in divorce and other proceedings.- In any proceedings of restitution of conjugal rights or divorce, the respondent may not only oppose the relief sought on the ground of petitioner's adultery, cruelty or desertion, but also make a counter-claim for any relief under this Act on that ground; and if the petitioner's adultery, cruelty or desertion is proved, the Court may give to the respondent any relief under this Act to which he or she would have been entitled if he or she had presented a petition seeking such relief on that ground.
29.     Appeals from judgment, decrees and orders:-
(1)     All judgments, decrees and orders made by District Court in any proceeding under this Act shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) and (3), be appealable and every such appeal shall lie to the High Court. 
(2)     There shall be no appeal under this section on subject of costs only.
(3)     No appeal shall lie to the High Court from a judgment, decree or order made by District Court with the consent of the parties.
(4)     Every appeal under this section shall be preferred within a period of ninety days from the date of the judgment, decree or order.
                   Provided that the High Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the period of ninety days, if it is satisfied that there was sufficient or reasonable cause for not filing the appeal within the time limit.
30.     Enforcement of decrees and orders.- All decrees and orders made by the Court in any proceeding under this Act, shall be enforced in the like manner as the decrees and orders of the Court made in the exercise of its original civil jurisdiction for the time being are enforced.
31.     Powers to make rules:- The Union or State Government  may by notification in the official gazette, make rules not inconsistent with this Act to carry out the provisions of this Act.
32.     Savings:-
(1)     A marriage solemnized between Sikhs before the commencement of this Act, which is otherwise valid, shall not be deemed to be invalid or ever to have been invalid by reason only of the fact that the parties thereto belonged to the same “pravara” or belonged to different religion.
 (2)    Nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to affect any right exercised before the commencement of this Act to obtain the dissolution of a Sikh Marriage recognised by custom or usage.
(3)     Nothing contained in this Act shall affect the procedure of any proceeding pending at the commencement of this Act under any law for the time being in force for declaring any marriage to be null and void or for annulling or dissolving any marriage, and any such proceeding may be continued in accordance with the procedure applicable before commencement of this Act.

Friday, April 6, 2012

History is repeating itself


[To those familiar with the events of the last four decades in the Punjab, the situation appears to have taken a full circle. History is poised to repeat itself. At an equally crucial time, Y. V. Chandrachud, the then Chief Justice of India (1978-1985), on tour of Patiala, had made a significant pronouncement warning lawless elements (read, ‘those agitating for rights of the state’). It was none of his business to do so, but he stopped to assume the mantle of the official spokesman of the central government when he broadcast that warning. At the same time he was directing the judiciary to adopt tough attitude towards the agitators. Sowing prejudice in the minds of an important pillar of the State was at least reprehensible but was not treated as such by the people of India.

Today we have a near parallel scenario unfolding itself in front of us. Two judges of the Supreme Court, hearing a totally unrelated petition chose to make observations about the case of Balwant Singh Rajoana and its handling by the state government. The court of Justices G. S. Singhvi and S. J. Mukhopadhaya characterised the happenings of the previous four days as a “telling situation.” It alleged that a “high drama” had been enacted for political considerations “in a particular state.” This observation was made while hearing the petition filed in behalf of Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. [See, The Indian Express, March 30, 2012, (4)] The court neglected the restraint that judges must observe while sitting in that high seat of justice. They also did not care whether their remarks would offend the Punjab in general and the Sikh people the world over who were supporting clemency for Rajoana. They also did not realize that the judiciary would see a message in their off the cuff remarks to the detriment of citizens who have the inherent right to unprejudiced application of mind by the judiciary.]

On April 1, 2012, some of us representing various human rights organisations signed a memorandum to be presented to all the primary functionaries of the government bringing to their notice the impropriety committed by the judges and the far-reaching implications that it is likely to have. I take the liberty to present the same (below) to “we the people” who are the source of all power invested in the high dignitaries to whom the memorandum has been addressed. I request the people not to be indifferent to the unfolding events but to take the bull by the horns by expressing displeasure at the impropriety which appears to be more than a mere impropriety.

To April 1, 2012

1. President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

2. The Prime Minister of India,

New Delhi.

3. The Chief Justice of India,

Supreme Court Complex, New Delhi.

Sub.: Observations of the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India with regard to the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana while hearing the case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.


Hon’ble Sir/s,

A petition for clemency on behalf of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh by faith, against his death penalty is pending in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. It came up for hearing before a Bench on 29.3.2012. While hearing this petition, the Hon’ble Judges made certain observations with regard to the hanging of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana who has been convicted and sentenced to death in the case of late Beant Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.

The ire of the Hon’ble Judges has been directed against the Punjab Government for demanding clemency for Rajoana. They have called it “a political drama”, unmindful of the mass protests held in Punjab over the past four days. These observations have hurt the Sikh community. These remarks have been made entirely out of context, as the matter in question was not before the Court at all. The court was handling a case which was entirely different, having been based on different facts and circumstances.

Observations made in relation to Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana by the judges concerned are unwarranted and uncalled for. It is a sad reflection on the Indian judiciary, which seems to be biased against the minorities. It took no notice of the false encounters and extra-judicial killings of the minority communities in India. The silence of the judiciary over burning issues like demolition of Babri Masjid, Godhara killings, killings of the Christians and burning of their churches did not even touch the conscience of the persons manning the judicial system.

Let us quote a few instances which clearly reflect the bias of Indian judiciary against the Sikhs.

In the case of hanging of Kehar Singh an accused in Mrs. Indira Gandhi case, even the top jurist Justice Tarkunde and legal luminary H.M. Seervai took cognizance of the biased judgment of the Supreme Court. Minoo Masani, an eminent Constitutional Lawyer and a Member of the Lok Sabha pointed out:

“ ... I refer to the execution of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, the first of whom was undoubtedly guilty of murder and the second was just as clearly innocent. Kehar Singh’s execution amounts to judicial murder, since it is based on a miscarriage of justice on the part of the courts of law.”

Mr. Seervai observed:

“After a full discussion of the questions involved in the conviction of Kehar Singh by the three judges, I end as I began. I agree with Mr. Tarkunde, a retired judge of the Bombay High Court that even a dog could not be hanged on the evidence led against Kehar Singh. And I also agree with Mr. Minoo Masani that the conviction of Kehar Singh was “judicial murder”, that is, “death caused by court sentence held legal, but unjust”.

In the case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar who was deported from Germany with an understanding that no capital punishment will be awarded to him, was convicted and sentenced to death on the sole piece of evidence of his unsigned confessional statement purportedly recorded by a Superintendent of Police. It is a fact that the Presiding Judge of the Bench of Supreme Court acquitted Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, whereas the other two judges upheld his conviction and sentence and he is suffering the imprisonment till date which is a pretty long period and has mentally and physically affected him seriously. In the legal history this is a classical case where the acquittal and death sentence is recorded.

We also like to quote the case of Kishori Lal, a meat seller, who killed 13 innocent Sikhs with a weapon used by butchers. For the killing of 13 Sikhs he was awarded Capital punishment by the trial Court but when his case came before the Supreme Court, his death sentence was set aside by observing that he committed the murders on account of emotional circumstances relating to the death of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. It is also a fact that he was going to be released after suffering imprisonment of some years. However because of the representation of the Sikh organization his release was forestalled.

The Indian judiciary chose to be silent over the killing of thousands of Sikhs in November 1984 in Delhi and in other places in India, besides destruction of their holy places and property worth billions. Again the demolition of Babri Masjid is also a historical fact and a glaring case of participation of a political party helped by religious organizations. The killing of Muslims in Gujarat is also a recorded fact in the history besides the killing of Christians and burning of their churches at difference places in India. No High Court or the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of such most tragic events in which the minorities suffered in terms of lives, property, prolonged imprisonments and other miseries. One fails to understand why any High Court or the Supreme Court did not take suo moto notice of such painful and tragic events. It seems that it was not done so because the minorities were at the suffering end.

The observations of the concerned judges of the Supreme Court are to be viewed with great anguish. It reflects their biased attitude against Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, while hearing the case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.

The situation is reminiscent of the mindset of the Kazis during the Mughal rule, who delivered decisions which proved detrimental to their governing system. Executions of Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh and many others led to the eventual decline of the Mughal Empire.

It is high time that the Hon'ble Judges should uphold the dignity of their high offices and should create an atmosphere of faith and trust so that the minorities do not feel let down. Fractured verdicts given by the Apex Court in the cases of Kehar Singh and Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar have left deep scars on the Sikh sensitivities. Indiscrete comments of the Hon’ble judges and judicial overreach are matters of utmost concern.

Yours faithfully,



[Some public spirited people called for a state-wide shutdown to protest against the execution of death sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana, accused of conspiring to kill Beant Singh, the then chief minister of the Punjab. The judgment is still to become final and the execution of Balwant Singh before that if it happens, will be travesty of justice. Eight ordinary citizens of the Punjab announced a shut-down in the entire Punjab on the 28th of March, 2012, against the execution of Balwant Singh scheduled to take place on the 31st of March 2012. The punishment was so blatantly unjust that the entire Punjab arose to record protest against it. The shut-down of the 28th was complete. People of Punjabi origin took part in the protest the world over. For the first time in several decades there was unanimity amongst the people that injustice was being done and it needed to be thwarted by popular disapproval.

The newly elected government of the Punjab rightly stood by its people and represented in the matter to the president of India. That earned some reprieve to the condemned man. The hanging was postponed for the time being. It appears that at heart, the government was not convinced that it had conducted itself properly. In the most stupid way of all it went ahead to indicate that. This was by arresting all the people whom it considered real custodians of the Sikh sentiment in the Punjab and put all of them behind bars on the very evening of one of the most successful shut-downs in recent history. On the date of writing, April 4, 2012, these leaders of public opinion are still in detention. People of the Punjab are entitled to ask why this is happening. Why those who represent the Sikh spirit in particular and the Punjabi sentiment in general, are cast behind bars by a government which claims to have been democratically elected less than a month prior to the arrests of the 28th. Has it lost its representative character so soon that it is mortally afraid of a handful of leaders who, according to the newly elected, represent nobody? Those arrested appear to have a point of view that is endorsed by the whole of the Punjab, all the Punjabis abroad and all wide awake citizens of the world who consider execution to be barbaric and want no destruction of life. We must all ask why the leaders of the people who have correctly articulated their concerns, are being held in prison all over the Punjab? The intimidation of such leaders goes against the democratic spirit and ethical behaviour. We must demand their immediate release.]


[The Akali-BJP government is not the only entity that is not able to make sense of the emerging phenomena. We have confused politicians unable to speak for or against the death sentence. The Press too is not providing proper guidance but is trying to detract from the enormity of the sentiment behind the proposition to grant total clemency. It is now resorting to the tricks that it has been playing for decades in the Punjab. Placed below are three letters to the editors of widely circulated newspapers of the region. I urge the reader to become aware of the consistent propaganda that the press is conducting to misguide the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular.]


(Letter to the Editor for publication)

From : Gurtej Singh,

742, Sector 8,


To: The Editor, The Tribune,

Dear sir,

I have been reading The Tribune for several decades. Though I have always found it amply dispassionate in depicting news and views that affect the people in general, but have always found it abandoning the degree of generosity when matters concerning the Sikh issues or personalities come up for reporting. The same gingerly attitude is adopted when those issues (wrongly) perceived to be Sikh issues are dealt with. In the past this attitude complemented by the Jalandhar division Press, has been responsible for bringing much misery to the people of the region.

During the last disturbed decades Press observers had several occasions to see bias being reflected in the columns of the paper that is liked by many in the region. The situation of the Punjab requires absolute honesty in representing varied points of view.

In this background I bring to your notice the reporting on the latest bandh of the 28th March, left much to be desired. On the first page was the news entitled, “Near total bandh in Punjab.” The headline was only technically correct and the news depicted under it tried to make the Rajoana issue a Sikh versus Hindu issue. The complete nature of the bandh in urban centres like Ludhiana and Jallandhar suggest that the people did not consider the issue a communal issue at all but gave the message that under all circumstances justice must be tempered with mercy if it is not to become a tyranny. That was remarkable and should have been reflected.

The headline at page 5 was equally Janus faced, “Clashes in Patiala leave five injured” screams the headline. The sub heading is actually more true and of general applicability, It reads, “Complete shutdown in state over Rajoana’s hanging.” The latter deserved to be the main headline on the first page and the contents of the news regarding Patiala could have been depicted under the headline at page 5.

By harnessing less than generous attitude to depict this most important news of the region, your paper has contributed to distortion in the popular mind not inclined (as the average reader invariably is) to go deep into the news item.

I have had several occasions to bring the peculiar attitude of The Tribune to the notice of several of your predecessors and the distinguished members of the Tribune trust. I was hoping that with your coming no such occasion would arise in future. Please don’t prove me wrong. This state deserves better attention particularly by your paper.


Yours truly,

Gurtej Singh.


(Letter to the Editor for publication)

From : Gurtej Singh,

742 Sector 8,


To: The Editor, The Indian Express,

editpage@expressindia .com

April 2, 2012

Dear Sir,

I have been a keen observer of the events in the Punjab since 1978. I have also been reading The Indian Express since my student days. The paper was well known for its integrity. Its role during the notorious Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi was exemplary and must have inspired generations of journalists dedicated to objectivity. Somehow it became selectively objective with the beginning of the Akali Dharamyudh Morcha. It developed a faulty vision as will be apparent from the writings particularly of Mr. B. K. Chum. The particular slant against the Sikh people has continued since.

Much water has flown down the rivers since 1984. Those responsible for the turmoil have sheepishly apologized, some gracefully, some in their usual crooked style. The entire Press has been more than satisfied with the modern Akali’s disowning the ‘Panthic agenda.’ Unfortunately the Press has still not abandoned its anti-Sikh stance. This will become apparent if you dispassionately analyze your reporting on the recent events in Gurdaspur. Persistent attempts have been made to popularize a garbled version of the event to the advantage of a ‘particular community’ - to use the cliché that the Press often employs.

Please refer to page 4 of your esteemed newspaper dated April 1, 2012, wherein your correspondent Navjeevan Gopal has presented the happenings at Gurdaspur (“Deputy SP, ASI booked for youth’s murder”). Jaspal Singh a young engineering student was killed in the police firing on March 29, 2012. Your paper has made it appear as if the incident had taken place on the 28 when the bandh in favour of Balwant Singh Rajoana was being observed. He has thus tried to provide a justification of sorts for the police firing and the killing of Jaspal Singh and by implication the injury caused to others in that totally unjustified police firing. Your paper has written, “Jaspal was one of the protestors taking part in the demonstration in Gurdaspur seeking clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana – convicted for the assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh – when police opened fire.”

The fact, however, is that the firing took place on the 29th March when the Hindu Shiva Sena was trying to publicly burn effigies of respected Sikh personalities in reaction to the bandh that had taken place a day earlier. The wrong context has distorted the news against the innocent deceased and a ‘particular community’ as you would say. It has shielded the real culprits who went about sowing virulent communalism without a cause. It has tried to shield the police which went on a killing spree at the victims of the communal activity.

Kindly make amends as best you can. My further request to you is to remind your highly communalised reporter(s) that the news is sacred in all circumstances and may not be distorted, if for nothing else, it would be worthwhile to refrain just to preserve respectability of your esteemed paper.


Yours truly.

Gurtej Singh.


(Letter to the Editor for publication)

From : Gurtej Singh,

742 Sector 8,


April 4, 2012

To: The Editor, The Hindustan Times,


Dear sir,

I am a regular reader of your esteemed newspaper. It is painful to observe your paper straying from the universal norms of journalism. Please see the news item “DGP Saini’s appointment challenged in high court.” At page 4 of your Chandigarh edition dated April 4, 2012. Your correspondent set out to convey the news about the filing of the petition. One reading it would expect to read something about the contents of the petition and the rationale for presenting it. Except for knowing that a criminal case is pending against the DGP in Delhi, one is none the wiser about these vital aspects. These eleven words do not help the reader in making up his mind about the correctness or otherwise of filing the petition.

In a classic example of shooting the messenger your correspondent has concentrated on discrediting the NGO on behalf of which the petition is presented. More than 130 words have been used to challenge the credibility and character of the NGO though these aspects are not relevant in a complaint alleging criminality and inadequate application of mind by the appointing authority. Simranjit Singh of Ajitgarh who is a respectable member of the high court bar has been described as nondescript ‘one -- resident of SAS Nagar.’

The correspondent, tracing the devil to its door (bure de ghar tak), has tried to dig up some dirt about the NGO and alleges that it has been questioning the judiciary without mentioning whether the criticism is legitimate or baseless. To further discredit the NGO he has tried to relate it to the arrest of Simranjit Singh Mann of the Akali Dal and others though a reading of the petition suggests no such context. SS Mann and others have been unfairly described as radicals though they are functioning within the four corners of the constitution and have been regularly contesting elections. The honourable judge has merely asked the NGO to show that it has been concerned about public affairs in the past. That is entirely reasonable and does not have the sinister connotation your correspondent has tried to place on the pronouncement of the judge. This constitutes distortion. I hope you will make amends.


Yours truly,

Gurtej Singh.


Badal’s formula for everlasting peace in the Punjab

Another recent news is worthy of being brought to the people’s notice. While speaking to a gathering on the death anniversary of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the chief minister of the Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal paid “laurel tributes” (whatever it means). Just before his death he had denounced Tohra as agent of the Congress and had expelled him from the Akali Dal. Now “paying laurel tributes to Jathedar Tohra, the Chief Minister said that he was the only multifaceted personality of the panth who had contributed immensely in every field whether it was religious, political, social or educational.” He is further reported to have lamented that “some inimical forces were trying to mislead people about SAD by using ‘panthic agenda’, he however said that, SAD has always adopted the ‘panthic agenda’ as shown by the Sikh gurus which include welfare of all sections of society, communal harmony and giving equal respect to every religion. Raising slogans of hatred and adoption of warpath always could not be termed as ‘panthic agenda’,” he stated. The excerpt has been taken from The Pioneer of April 2, 2012 but could have been culled from any of some two dozen papers of the day. Badal’s speech was well reported for it has far reaching consequences. The Sikh people must understand what PS Badal is saying and must record its reaction. It is not enough to run him down for the speech; the proposition that he has been mooting since 1996 (when the 75 year old Shiromani Akali Dal was converted into a Punjabi Party) has not been understood in proper perspective and has lead to unnecessary misery for the Sikh people.

To analyze Badal’s proposition properly, we need to take notice of related facts. After the elections had concluded and results were still to come, we heard of the death by burning of Kulwant Singh Varpal who had been in Amritsar jail after having been ‘picked up’ by the police on July 21, 2010. He had been tortured in front of the family members when he was picked up and subsequently. While in custody he had been severely tortured physically as well as mentally. As a result of the torture his kidneys had become non functional and he had to be moved to a hospital. A petition was put in the Punjab and Haryana High Court (P&HHC) at Chandigarh and is pending. On the 11th of February came the news that Kulwant Singh had been set on fire inside the jail premises while he was sleeping in his prison cell. He was brought to the hospital and succumbed to severe burn injuries. He had been able to make a dying declaration, based upon which the High Court has ordered the registration of a case for murder. Simultaneous with the announcement of the programme of oath taking by the new chief minister, another two significant news items were broadcast by the Media. One said that Balwant Singh Rajoana would be hanged on March 31, 2012. The other was regarding the appointment of Sumedh Saini as the Director General of the Punjab police. The announcement of Rajoana’s hanging was curious as the orders had been despatched much earlier but the announcement was (deliberately) withheld to synchronize with the event of oath taking. The appointment of Sumedh Saini had naturally to come at that stage only. Sumedh Saini is a person who is perceived to have done perhaps the greatest number of extrajudicial killings of innocent persons in police custody during his tenure as police officer in the Punjab. In one case, unrelated to militancy, the P&HHC had ordered an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Based on its recommendations, the concerned court had framed charges of abduction of three persons and related offences under sections 341, 342, 364 and 120B of Indian Penal Code. The trial in that case is in progress. For that reason alone, he could not have been appointed. There were other matters against him including strictures by a judge of the High Court. His appointment contravened instructions of the Supreme Court of India. More than half a dozen officers senior to him were qualified to be appointed according to the Police Act. There is no mistaking that his appointment was meant to convey a message like the other two events mentioned above.

Before the matter of Badal’s pronouncement is taken up for analysis, another two of his pronouncements in recent times may also be placed on record. One is the new-year message released by Badal at the end of 2011. In that he claimed credit for preserving communal harmony and law and order in the Punjab. This was strange as no serious threat to both had been noticed during his tenure as chief minister. On the eve of his being sworn in as the chief minister on the 14th of March (see, Ajit, Jalandhar of March 13, 2012, 1) he had conveyed to the press his desire to maintain ‘communal harmony and promotion of goodwill.’ He counted this amongst the reasons for which he had been re-elected.

The anti-Sikh stance of his coalition partner, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pronounced throughout the history of its existence as political party. Its opposition to clemency to Rajoana which the entire Punjab supports is well known by now. It has resulted in the death of an innocent 18 year old student in police firing at Gurdaspur and in causing bullet injuries to several others. The incident took place on the 29th of March. The police was perceived to have acted in behalf of the Hindu Shiv Sena which is a member of the Hindutava forces like the BJP. It is significant that on the 28th of March some goons of the Shiv Sena had beaten up some Sikh young men and had insulted them by removing their turbans. A police case against the culprits had been registered. This becomes another input for the intended analysis of Badal’s pronouncement at Tohra village.

This “vision of the SAD-BJP government” appears to be composed of elements that form the propaganda plank of the Congress (I) party. The core element of this philosophy since at least 1911 has been that the tenth Guru introduced a kind of aberration in the Sikh movement by developing it along militant lines. That this has nothing to do with the spiritual aspect of Sikhi and needs to be got rid of. This has been expressed in a variety of ways by both the Congress and the BJP. Eventually a strategy appears to have been worked out to fulfil the common ambition of both the parties. This appears to have converged on entrusting the entire political power to a Sikh who would become the instrument to rid Sikhi of social concerns. In return he would be given unbridled political power in the state. On those terms Badal appears to have become a willing tool in this unholy war by the Congress and the BJP. To what level the information has been allowed to percolate within the relevant organisations is anybody’s guess. This philosophy has also been responsible for the promotion of the dera culture in the Punjab.

The inauguration of Badal’s last term as chief minister coincided with the appearance of an article which suggested that the ‘preaching of nine years cannot replace preaching of two hundred and thirty years.’ It thus sought to reject the contribution of the Tenth Nanak. Then there was the affidavit by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) that avoided providing the spiritual, religious and philosophical rationale for the Khalsa rahit as required by the P&HHC. It almost invited an adverse judgement which could have become a major hurdle in many ways. The main suit was frivolous and should never have been allowed to come to the court. The SGPC run Dental College appears to have contrived to make it a big issue. Bhai Darshan Singh was excommunicated for preaching the Sikh thought that the panth has upheld ever since its existence. Elections to the SGPC, with the connivance of the Gurdwara Election Commission, were held affording full opportunity to the non-keshadhari to vote. During the last tenure of this chief minister, the state police went on a turban removing spree to offer insults to the Sikh community. It has resumed the nefarious activity within a fortnight of Badal’s return as chief minister. Incidents and events of this nature could be multiplied.

In consequence of pursuit of the broader philosophy outlined above, the representation of the Hindus in the Badal Akali Dal will go on steadily increasing. The BJP will go on making progress in this regard although the Hindus form only 14% of Punjab’s population. Hindus in the Congress and outside will see their future in joining the either of two parties. The Sikhs who form 63% of the Punjab’s population will be steadily marginalised. Badal has shown the way by getting a Hindu candidate elected from a purely Sikh constituency in Faridkot. It is calculated that peace of the graveyard will come to reign eternally. We are watching the forceful launching of that trend today.

Badal’s philosophy, adopted after he became the sole arbiter of the Sikh religious and political affairs, is that the Khalsa rahit is the cause of all ills of the Sikhs. The Sikhs must give up all social concerns. Matters like the river water and rampant injustice must not be contended. He is indicating this by frequently imprisoning those leaders of public opinion who have the potential of contesting his point of view. Choice before the Sikhs is either to become shorn slaves of an alien culture as is implied by non-resistance to oppression or to show to the world how the Tenth King’s rahit is the essence of Sikhi and constitutes the next stage of development of humankind. To be fair to all Badal must also spell out his proposition clearly for everyone to respond. The shadow boxing must end before it does more harm to Sikhi and to the Punjab. The Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh must also clearly spell out its reaction and say whether it supports the blasphemy that Guru Gobind Singh was different from his nine predecessors? It must answer whether he had an agenda independent of them all. Time has come for the Sikhs to affirm solidarity with the Ten Guru’s vision of social dynamics or to finally turn their backs upon it. The matter brooks no further procrastination.