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Sikh Gurdwaras Bill passed by RS without any discussion


New Delhi: A bill which seeks to amend 91-year-old Sikh Gurdwaras Act to exclude Sahajdhari Sikhs from voting in the elections to Sikh religious bodies, was today passed by Rajya Sabha unanimously without any discussion.

The Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was introduced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday, was passed with all parties agreeing to it on the last day of the first part of Budget session.

“There is unanimity in the House to pass the bill without discussion. I am passing it,” Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said.

The Bill proposes to remove the exception given to Sahajdhari Sikhs in 1944 to vote in the elections to select the members of the Board and the Committees constituted under the Act.

The Union Cabinet had recently approved the proposal of the Home Ministry to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, with effect from October 8, 2003.

The said amendment was also carried out by a Home Ministry notification dated October 8, 2003, in exercise of the powers conferred by the Parliament under Section 72 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966.

However, the notification was quashed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on December 20, 2011, leaving it to the appropriate and competent legislature to decide as to whether or not to amend the Act to that effect.

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