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Haryana gurdwaras row: Home ministry seeks withdrawal of governor’s assent to bill

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Chandigarh, July 18 :

The ongoing row over Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) Act got murkier Friday with the union home secretary writing to the state government, seeking withdrawal of the governor’s assent to the controversial bill.

The Haryana government reacted sharply to the letter from union Home Secretary Anil Goswami to Chief Secretary S.C. Chaudhary, rejecting any withdrawal of the new act.
SGPC-Haryana
“We will think on whether or not to reply to union home secretary’s letter. I find it very amusing that the union home secretary has passed a judgment on the wisdom of the state legislature and the governor,” Chaudhary said.

There is no provision for withdrawal of assent, he said.

“Once the governor gives assent to a bill, it becomes a law (an act). The assent then cannot be withdrawn,” the chief secretary said.

“Either the state legislature can repeal, modify or amend an act or the courts can strike down the legislation,” he said, noting that the Haryana government had no authority over the legislature and the governor.

“I cannot pass a judgment on collective wisdom of state legislature. I find it (union home secretary’s letter) funny and amusing,” he told media.

Official sources too said that the Constitution had no provision for withdrawal of assent.

The Haryana assembly had passed the controversial bill last Friday within three hours of its introduction.

Governor Jagannath Pahadia, whose term ends later this month, gave his assent to the bill Monday despite protests by the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC had sought the central government’s intervention in the matter to stop Haryana from going ahead with the move to set up a separate committee to manage gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in Haryana.

The SGPC, which manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, will lose control over the Haryana shrines if the new committee is set up.

(IANS)