Hold gurdwara elections by Dec 31: SC

The Delhi government's attempt to buy more time for elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) fell flat on Thursday when the Supreme Court dismissed its plea to grant six more months for completing the electoral process and reiterated that it must be done by December 31.

A bench led by Justice R M Lodha had in September directed the government and the DSGMC to make sure that elections to the committee posts are conducted by the end of this year. It had even recorded an undertaking by the government's counsel that the elections will be completed within 10 weeks from then.

But on Thursday, senior advocates Soli Sorabjee and K T S Tulsi moved a fresh plea before the bench and sought extension of time. The application stated that amendments to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act were underway and that the amendments were so significant that it would be in the interest of justice to hold the elections after the new legislation is in place.

After deliberations, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the amended Act and Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna had also given his consent. The file, according to the application, was now required to be sent to the Union Home Ministry for clearance before tabling it in Delhi Assembly.

The application added that one of the pertinent changes in the new legislation related to the manner of electing the DSGMC president and also to make his tenure for four years to accord him better control over affairs of the body.

Claiming that the amendments were being brought to respect the sentiments of the Sikh community, the government asked for time till June 30, 2013, to conduct the elections.

But the bench was unimpressed with the reasons cited for extension of time. "We passed our order on September 17. You had more than four months to do whatever you wished. These things (amendments in the Act) will continue. L-G will have one view and others will have their own views. Election must be held on time," the bench said.

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