The Sikh Gurdwaras (Supplementary) Act, 1925

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A Central Government legislation namely, The Sikh Gurdwaras (Supplementary) Act, 1925 (Act no. 24 of 1925) was enacted with the object to provide supplementary of provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 (Punjab Act no. 8 of 1925). The present Act was brought into force on 1st November, 1925 as per section 1(3) of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 (herein SG Act). Regarding the brief history of passing the SG Act of 1925, the Bill regarding the enactment was firstly introduced by S. Tara Singh of Moga, Member Legislative Council, as a private member’s Bill, in the specially convened session of the Punjab Legislative Council at Simla on 7th May, 1925. The said SG Bill was passed in India unanimously by the Punjab Ligislative Council in the month of 7th July, 1925 and was converted into an Act, on 29th July by obtaining the assent of Governor General of India and thereafter the same was brought into force on 1st November, 1925. The said SG Act was provided for ending the controversy which was existed among the Sikh community which had embroiled it with the British government and threatened the tranquility of the Punjab State. The controversy had emerged over a reforming movement, organized as the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (“Committee of Shrine Management”), that wished to remove from the Sikh gurdwaras (temples of Sikh community) hereditary mahants (guardians), who in some cases had diverted temple revenues to private use. The said controversy embittered by the outrage at Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan). Processions of protest were organized, and the government was involved because the guardians had acquired customary proprietary rights in the pre-British period. As such the Act formulated with the help of the British governor, Sir Malcolm Hailey, set up a popularly elected Central Sikh board, which represented the Sikh community. Sikh shrines and guardians were placed under the board’s control, ensuring that religious property was used for religious purposes and that the regular Sikh worship was maintained.

So far as the main purpose of the Act is concerned, the long title of the Act says that, the Act is provided to supplement the provisions of the SG Act, 1925 by the legislation in Indian legislature.

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The Act contains only few provisions, including the important section 2, which is related to validation of several provisions of the SG Act, 1925. It is specifically given under this provision that, the SG Act of 1925 is to taken as the same was enacted by the Indian Legislature, so far it is adding to or taking from the Jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature, Lahore and also when the same Act provides for the procedure of the same High Court. The High Court mentioned herein is now called High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

The Section 12 in the SG Act, 1925 was sought to be amended by section 4 of this Act. The original provision of section 12 was making provisions as to composition and functioning of the Tribunal under that Act. However, the amending provision was repealed by the provision of section 2 of the Repealing Act no. 1 of 1938.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.