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Commentary on the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925

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Item Code: IDK272
Author: Dr. Kashmir Singh
Publisher: Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 8177700960
Pages: 501
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.50 X 6.50 inch
Weight 930 gm
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Book Description

Gurdwara Reform Movement 1920-25 is considered a glorious chapter in the Sikh history because it led to the passage of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925. The Act is termed as a remarkable achievement of the Sikhs in the twentieth century. The Sikhs got control of important Gurdwaras alongwith full freedom to manage them. Besides creating institutions like Sikh Gurdwaras Tribunal, Sikh Gurdwaras Judicial Commission, Local Gurdwara Committees, Gurdwaras Election Commission, the Act impliedly legalized and recognized the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak committee. It also provided for the composition, powers and functions of all these bodies. The Act was originally passed for the composite Punjab under the British rule. Partition took away a big chunk of Gurdwaras, including very important ones like Nankana Sahib, from the purview of the Act. But the extension of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act to PEPSU area in 1959 brought hundreds of Gurdwaras under the management created by the Act. It continues to be applicable to the areas of post-partition East Punjab and PEPSU and at present about a thousand Gurdwaras are managed in accordance with the provisions of this Act. Bifurcation of that area into Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh by the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 has not affected the jurisdiction of the Act. The SGPC has become inter-state body having jurisdiction in three States and one Union Territory. The Punjab Legislature had passed and later introduced important amendments into it from time to time. The Parliament by the Reorganisation Act 1966 has authorized the Central government to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 simply by issuing a notification. The Central Government has amended the Act substantially through this mode. The important amendments by such notifications through this mode. The important amendments by such notifications are the creation of Gurdwara Election Commission, reservation of seats for women in the SGPC, de-enfranchising the Sikhs. It is a scholarly study containing a complete and updated version of the Act alongwith exhaustive analysis of its provisions. The Sikhs all over the world look towards the SGPC, constituted by this Act, for guidance in religious and even in temporal matters. It is a thorough work on a statute which is of extreme importance for the Sikhs.

I hope that this work will be of immense use not only to the members of the Bar and the Bench but also to all those who are entrusted with or interested in the management of Gurdwaras.


The book is a humble attempt to present the updated version of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 alongwith exhaustive commentary including almost all the notable judgments delivered by the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of India, the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Lahore High Court. Decisions of these courts have been appropriately incorporated and analysed. Not to take of good material even bare version of the amended and updated act is not available either in the market or in the offices of the institution which are created and governed by this Act. This will be the only publication containing amendments made in the Act after 1966. Thus it will fill the gap in the availability of the legal literature that was overdue since long. It is a thorough study of the enactment, which the Sikhs compelled the British Government to pass after a long drawn agitation. The Act was a pioneer legislation in the field of regulation of religious institutions.

The author is highly thankful to Dr. S.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor of the University for his scholarly foreword and also for his interest in the publication of the book. I feel indebted to Justice Kuldeep Singh, former Judge, Supreme Court of India for suggesting various improvements in this work and especially for advising the inclusion of the topic of Constitutional Validity of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act. Special thanks are due to Dr. Professor T.S. Mann, former Head, Department of Laws, who had initiated me in the study of this subject. My sincere thanks are due to my colleagues, both on the teaching and non-teaching side, in the Department of Laws for providing me necessary assistance and encouragement to complete this work. I acknowledge the whole-hearted cooperation and assistance received from Advocate Sheraj Singh Hundal during the preparation of this book. I am also thankful to the staff members press and Publication Department of the University for the accuracy and industry in bringing out this volume.


Table of Cases
History of Gurdwara Management1
Gurdwara Reform Movement5
History of Gurdwara Legislation13
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrines Bill, 192113
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrines Act, 192215
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrines Bill, 192520
History of Gurdwara Management in Pepsu23
Scheme of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 192531
State Control and Regulation of Religious Institutions42
Constitutional Validity of Enactments relating to 47
Religious Endowments
Constitutional Validity of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 192554
Objects and Reasons of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 192571
Chapter I
1. Short title, extent and commencement76
2. Definitions78
Petitions to the State Government relating to Gurdwaras
3. List of property of scheduled Gurdwara to be forwarded to the State government102
(2) Declaration of scheduled Gurdwara and publication of list forwarded under sub-section (1)
(3) Notices of claims to property entered in the consolidated list to be sent to persons shown as in possession
(4) Effect of publication of declaration and consolidated list under sub-section (2)
4. Effect of omission to forward a list under section 3114
5. Petitions of claim to property included in a consolidated list114
(2) Signing and verification of petitions under sub-section (1)
(3) Notification of property not claimed under sub-section (1)
and effect of such notification
6. Claim for compensation by a hereditary office-holder of a Notified Sikh Gurdwara or his presumptive successor125
(2) Signing and verification of petitions under sub-section (1)
7. Petitions to have a Gurdwara declared a Sikh Gurdwara127
(2) List of property claimed for the gurdwara and of persons in possession thereof to accompany a petition under sub-section (1)
(3) Publication of petition and list received under sub-sections (1) and (2)
(4) Notice of claims to property to be sent to persons shown in the list as in possession
(5) Effect of publication of petition and list under sub-section (3)
8. Petition to have it declared that a place asserted to be a Sikh Gurdwara is not such a gurdwara135
9. Effect of omission to present a petition under section 8146
(2) Effect of publication of a notification under sub-section (1)
10. Petition of claim to property included in a list published 149
under sub-section (3) of Section 7
(2) Signing and verification of petitions under sub-section (1)
(3) Notification of property not claimed under sub-section (1) and effect of such notification
11. Claim for compensation by a hereditary office-holder of gurdwara notified under section 7 or his presumptive successor161
Chapter III
Appointment of and Proceedings before a Tribunal
12. Constitution and procedure of tribunal for purposes of the Act 163
13. Procedure on difference of opinion171
14. Tribunal to dispose of petition under sections5, 6, 8, 10 and 11 172
15. Power of tribunal to join parties and award costs175
16. Issue as to whether a gurdwara is a Sikh Gurdwara to be decided first and how issue is to be decided
17. Notification of Sikh Gurdwara on finding of tribunal 202
18. Presumption in favour of a Notified Sikh Gurdwara on proof of certain facts when a claim to property is made by an office-holder203
19. Adjudication by tribunal upon agreements made between office-holder and persons acting on behalf of a Sikh Gurdwara210
20. Claim for compensation by a hereditary office-holder who has resigned or been dismissed211
21. Claim for compensation by person alleging right to nominate office-holder of a Notified Sikh Gurdwara212
22. Matters for consideration in awarding compensation213
23. Compensation to be paid annually out of income of gurdwara216
24. Payment to heir of person compensated216
25. Manner in which compensation is to be paid and recovered if not duly paid216
25-A. Power of tribunal to pass decrees for possession in favour of the committees of Gurdwaras217
26. Entry of rights of gurdwara in revenue records221
27. Treatment of property dedicated to a Notified Sikh Gurdwara but under management of trustees221
28. Suits for possession of undisputed property of Notified Sikh Gurdwaras223
29. Exclusion of jurisdiction of the courts227
30. Decision by courts on certain claims in certain circumstances228
31. Courts not to continue certain proceedings pending decision as to whether a place is or is not a Sikh Gurdwara233
32. Transfer of suits pending in court235
33. Disputes relating to rights of office-holder after a year from commencement of Act237
34. Appeal against orders of a tribunal237
35. Court fees239
36. No court to take cognizance of manner in which the State Government or tribunal exercises its power under the Act239
37. Courts not to pass an order or grant or execute a decrees inconsistent with decision of a tribunal241
Chapter IV
Applications of Provisions of PART III to Gurdwaras found to be Sikh Gurdwaras by Courts other than a Tribunal under the provisions of the Act
38. Recourse to ordinary courts in cases where action has not been taken under Part I with a view to application of provisions of Part III to gurdwara
Chapter V
Control of Sikh Gurdwaras
39. Suits for relief claimable by application under this Part barred 251
40. Board, committees and Commission to be constituted for the 251
41. Control of Sikh Gurdwaras252
Chapter VI
The Board
42. Name of Board255
43. Composition and constitution of the Board260
43-A. Constitution of new Board261
44. Constituencies for election of members of Board263
45. Qualifications of elected members268
46. Qualifications of nominated members271
47. Date of Board election273
47-A. Superintendences, direction and control of election of Members of the Board and of Committees to be vested in the Gurdwara Election Commission 273
48. Electoral roll275
49. Qualifications of electors275
50. Right to vote276
51. Term of membership277
52. Effect of subsequent disability to serve as member of Board278
53. Vacancy in Board how to be filled279
54. First meeting of the Board280
55. Annual general meeting280
56. Notice of meeting280
57. Power of member to call meeting281
58. Office of Board281
59. Quorum of Board in general meeting281
60. Chairman at meetings of the Board281
61. Decision of questions before Board.282
62. Office-bearers and executive committee of Board282
63. Annual election of executive committee of Board.283
64. Powers of executive committee of Board.284
65. Vacancy in executive committee how to be filled.285
66. Member of a committee of management not to be member of executive committee of Board.285
67. Resignation of member of executive committee or of Board285
68. Remuneration of members of executive committee285
69. Servants of the Board; their appointment and punishment285
Chapter VII
The Judicial Commission
70. The Judicial Commission.286
71. Appointment of members of the Commission.292
72. Member of the Board or of a Committee to resign if appointed a member of Commission296
73. Remuneration of the members of the Commission296
74. Officers and servants of the Commission296
75. Expenses to be shared by Government and Board296
76. Jurisdiction and procedure of Commission.298
77. Court and office of Commission.309
78. Vacancy in Comrnission310
79. Removal of member of Commission310
80. Election of president of Commission318
81. Settlement of difference of opinion in Commission320
82. Costs in proceedings may be made payable out of income of Sikh Gurdwara320
83. Dissolution of Commission320
84. Decision as to whether a person is or is not a patit321
Chapter VIII
Committees of Gurdwaras
86. Committees of gurdwaras other than those specified in section 85328
87. Constitutions of committee not specially provided for 329
88. Constitution of committees333
89. Election of members335
90. Qualification for election to committee.336
91. Qualification for nomination to a committee337
92. Qualification of electors338
93. Right to vote338
94. Period of continuance of committees338
94-A. Incorporation of committees339
95. Effect of subsequent disability to service as a member of a committee339
96. Vacancies in committees340
98. Committees to meet at least three times a year341
99. Notice of meeting341
100. Quorum of committee342
101. Presidents and vice-presidents of committees342
102. Decisions of questions before committees342
103. Minutes to be recorded342
104. Resignation of president and members of committee343
104-A. Servants of the Committee, their appointment and punishment343
105. Exclusion of Board acting as committee from operation of this chapter343
Chapter IX
106. Object on which the funds of a gurdwara may be spent344
106-A. Utilization of surplus income347
107. Annual contribution to Board347
108. Formation of General Board Fund348
108-A. Research fund350
108-B. Religious fund351
108-C. Research and religious fund to be governed by the Act352
109. Funds transferred to Board by Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee352
110. Funds held in trust by the Board for specified purposes353
111. General Trust Fund353
112. Separate funds to be maintained for each trust354
113. Trust funds to be deposited in banks354
114. Board to maintain accounts of all trust funds and a General Board Fund354
115. Audit of accounts355
116. Auditor's report355
117. Board to consider auditor's report355
118. Payment of expenses of audit356
119. Budget of Board357
120. Accounts to be maintained by Committees357
121. Audit of committee's account357
122. Report of Auditor358
123. Budget of committees360
124. Recovery of contributions361
Chapter X
Powers and Duties of the Board
125. Powers and duties of the Board generally362
127. Board may hold and administer trusts362
127-A. Collection of dues payable to notified Sikh Gurdwaras left in Pakistan362
128. Control by Board over executive committee364
129. What matters may be discussed by Board in general meeting364
130. Settling of schemes of administration364
131. Exclusion of Board acting as committee from operation of section 130365
132. Power of Board to make bye-laws365
Chapter XI
Powers and Duties of the Committees
133. General powers of committees372
134. Powers of committee to dismiss office-holders372
135. Procedure when hereditary office-holder or minister is dismissed373
136. Appointment of ministers and office-holders375
137. Registers to be kept for gurdwaras376
138. Alienation of immovable trust property377
139. Power of committee to make regulations377
140. Power of committee to make regulations re offering at Sikh Gurdwara378
Chapter XII
141. Salaries of office- holders to be their property379
142. Right of interested persons to complain to commission in respect of misfeasance, etc.379
143. Notice of application to be given387
144. Government not to interfere with gurdwaras except as provided by this Act or any other Act388
144-A. Power to denotify or exempt non-historical Gurdwaras389
145. Act of Board or committee not to be invalidated by informality389
146. Power of State Government to make rules398
147. Power of the State Government to invest with judicial powers officers appointed to enquire into conduct of elections398
148. Language of the Commission398
148-A. Repeal399
Chapter XII-A
Temporary and Transitional Provisions
148-B. Additional Members of the Board constituted under section 43 and the Executive Committee constituted under Section 62401
148-C. Provisions relating to the existing local committees functioning under the Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala404
148-D. Provisions as to employees of the Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala, and local committees functioning under it404
148-E. Special provisions regarding the assets and liabilities of Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala404
148-F. Power to remove difficulties405
Chapter XIII
Electoral Offences
149. Prohibition of public meetings on the Election day406
150. Disturbances at election meetings406
151. Maintenance of secrecy of voting406
152. Officers etc., at elections not to act for candidates or to influence voting407
153. Prohibition of canvassing in or near polling stations407
154. Penalty for disorderly conduct in or near polling station408
155. Penalty for misconduct at the polling station408
156. Penalty for illegal hiring or procuring of conveyances at elections409
157. Breaches of official duty in connection with elections409
158. Removal of ballot papers from polling station to be an offence410
159. Other offences and penalties therefore410
160. Prosecution regarding certain offences412
161. Amendment of Act V. of 1898412
Schedule I415
Schedule II430
Schedule III435
I The Sikh Gurdwaras (Supplementary) Act, 1925437
II The Sikh Gurdwaras Rule 1925438
III The Sikh Gurdwara Board Election Rules 1959445
IV List of other Rules and By-Laws under the Act501
**Contents and Sample Pages**

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