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The Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2016

The present Act no. 21 of 2016 being the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2016 was enacted as the Act of Parliament with the aim and object to further amend the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 (Act No. VIII of 1925). The present Act is recently given assent by the honourable President of India 5th day of May, 2016. And it comes into operation with the retrospective effect, i.e. from the 8th day of October, 2003.

Before enacting the present amending Act, the Minister of Home Affairs has introduced a bill in this connection and the statements of Object and Reasons provided in that Bill draft, says that the earlier in exercise of the powers provided by the Section 72 of the Punjab Re- Organisation Act, 1966, the Central Government issued notification in the year 2003, for modifying the provisos to the Section 49 and section 92 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 and removed the exemption given to Sahjdhari Sikhs for enabling them to vote in the elections to the members of the Board and the Committee constituted under the Act of 1925. However, High Court of Punjab and Haryana quashed the notification in the year 2011, and left the matter of amendment with the competent legislature. Thus, the present Amending Act came in front.

The original Act is providing that every Sikh who is above 21 years of age and is registered as a voter, will be entitled to vote in the elections to the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Management Committees. However, the person who trims or shaves his bread or hair or consume alcoholic drinks will not be allowed to vote. However, the said Amending Act is removing the said exception, which were not allowing the Sehjdhari Sikhs for voting if they carry out these activities.

Here, the term Sehjdhari Sikhs means persons who perform ceremonies according to Sikh rites, and who do not consume tobacco or halal meat, and who have not been expelled from the religion for committing a religious transgression and can recite the Mul Mantra.

Download & Read the Bare Act: The Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act 2016 – pdf

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