The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the validity of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara (Management) Act enacted by the state legislature to manage Sikh places of worship effectively and permanently under the exclusive control of Haryana Sikhs.
The Supreme Court declared that the challenged law fell within the legislative jurisdiction of the Haryana State Legislature.
The 2014 Act provides a legal procedure by which Gurdwaras, by reason of their origin and habitual use, regarded by the Sikhs of Haryana as primarily pious places of worship, can be effectively and permanently placed under the sole control of the Sikhs of Haryana for its proper use, administration and control.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath said that the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 along with the Interstate Corporations Act 1957 empowers the central government to ensure the smooth transition of new states created at the following the reorganization. .
”Nothing in the 1966 Act vests legislative power in Parliament in matters within the legislative competence of the State under Schedule II. Therefore, the transitional provisions, i.e. the 1966 Act or the 1957 Act, do not encroach upon the legislative jurisdiction of the state legislature to enact law on the subjects mentioned in the list II”, the bench said.
The Supreme Court said that the 1957 Act is a law empowering the central government to issue instructions from time to time so that due to the creation of separate states, these statutory bodies in the new states can function smoothly.
The bench rejected the arguments of Petitioner One Harbhajan Singh, Centre, and Committee Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak that the Haryana State Legislature has no power to legislate with respect to an interstate corporation, which appears from reading the provisions of the law of 1966. Law.
The Act defines ”Interstate Company” as any body corporate incorporated under one of the laws specified in the Schedule and operating in two or more States under Section 109 of the 1956 Act, a- she said, adding that with respect to such interstate corporations, the central government could only issue directions under the 1957 Act to give effect to the reorganization of the states so that the interstate entity would be able to function and carry out the statutory mandate in the States thus constituted.
The bench said: ”These guidelines were transitional in nature so that the operation of interstate corporations would not be impeded or reduced due to the reorganization of states. Neither the 1956 Act, nor the 1966 Act, nor the 1957 Act deprived the States of the legislative competence to legislate on matters appearing in Schedule II of the Seventh Schedule and/or on materials falling under List III of the Seventh Schedule in the prescribed manner”.
He said that the 1956 Act or the 1966 Act empowers the central government to issue instructions to make the interstate entity functional, but the central government has not been empowered to legislate with respect to these interstate bodies which became operational in one or more states due to state reorganization.
The bench added that the consistent view of the three full benches of the High Court and this Court is that the power of the Center to issue directions under section 72 of the 1966 Act is a transitional provision.
He said: ”Therefore, we have no hesitation in considering that the power of the Center to give directions under section 72 of the 1966 Act is indeed a transitional provision to ensure the smooth and continued functioning from a juristic person so that it is not paralyzed to become an interstate juristic person due to the reorganization of the former state of Punjab”.
The District Court added that the guidelines contemplated by Section 72 relate to the operation and operation of such a body corporate and that a competent State Legislature is not deprived of its power to legislate over the matters falling within its competence under List II of the Seventh Schedule.
”The 1966 Act 49 does not prevent the State Legislature from legislating in matters within its legislative competence falling within Schedule II of the Seventh Schedule or even Schedule III of the Seventh Schedule, subject to the limitations mandated by the Constitution,'” the bench said.
He added that the issue of President’s assent as per Section 254(2) of the Constitution does not arise for consideration as the challenged Haryana law does not fall under Entry 28 of Schedule III of the Seventh Annex.
”In view of the inclusion of this entry on the concurrent list, the State may legislate in matters of charitable associations, charitable institutions, charitable and religious endowments and religious institutions. The president’s assent would be required if there is an existing statute and the state law conflicts with some of the provisions of the central law,” he said.
The bench said that the Haryana committee is the incorporation of a legal entity which more properly falls under the domain of List II entry 32 and though the Haryana committee is for religious purposes but the primary intention is the incorporation of a legal entity. manage the affairs of Sikhs in the state.
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