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Commentary On The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 - Book By Dr.Kashmir Singh

Publisher: Guru Nanak Dev University
Authors: Dr. Kashmir Singh
Page: 500
Format: Hardbound
Language: English
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Foreword To 'Commentary On The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925' By Dr.Kashmir Singh

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 Gurdawaras Judicial Commission, Local Gurdwara Committees, Gurdawara 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 authorised 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 are the creation of Gurdwara Election Commission , reservation of seats for women in the SGPC, deenfranchising the sehjdharis , recognition of Damdama Sahib as fifth Takhat of the Sikhs. It is a scholarly study containing a complete and updated version of the Act alongwith exhaustive analysis of its provision. 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.

Guru  Nanak Dev University, Dr. S. P. Singh
Amritsar Vice-Chancellor

Preface To 'Commentary On The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925' By Dr.Kashmir Singh

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 judgements 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 talk 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 ths 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 encouragemet 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.

  Dr. Kashmir Singh
Guru Nanak Dev University  


Table Of Contents For 'Commentary On The Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925' By Dr.Kashmir Singh


Foreword (i)
Preface (iii)
Contents (v)
Table of Cases  
History of Gurdwara Management 1
Gurdwara Reform Movement 5
History of Gurdwara Legislation 13
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrines Bill , 1921 13
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrines Act, 1922 15
The Sikh Gurdwaras and Shrunes Bill, 1925 20
History of Gurdwara Management in Pepsu 23
Scheme of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 31
State Control and Regulation of Religious Institutions 42
Constitutional Validity of Enactments relating to Religious Endowments 47
Constitutional Validity of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 54
Objects and Reasons of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 71
  Preamble 76


Chapter I


1. Short title, extent and commencement 76
2. Definitions 78

Chapter II

Petitions to the State Government relating to Gurdwaras

3. List of property of scheduled Gurdwara to be forwarded to the State Government 102
  (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 3 114
5. Petitions of claim to property included in a consolidated list 114
  (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 successor 125
  (2) Signing and verification of petitions under sub-section (1)  
7. Petitions to have a gurdwara declared a Sikh Gurdwara 127
  (2) List of property claimed fot 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 gurdwara 135
9. Effect of omission to present a petition under section 8 146
  (2) Effect of publication of a notification under sub-section (1)  
10. Petition of claim to property included in a list published under sub-section (3) of Section 7 149
  (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 successor 161

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 opinion 171
14. Tribunal to dispose of petition under sections 5,6,8,10 and 11 172
15. Power of tribunal to join parties and award costs 175
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-holder 203
19. Adjudication by tribunal upon agreements made between office-holder and persons acting on behalf of a Sikh Gurdwara 210
20. Claim for compensation by a hereditary office-holder who has resigned or been dismissed 211
21. Claim for compensation by person alleging right to nominate office-holder of a Notified Sikh Gurdwara 212
22. Matters for consideration in awarding compensation  213
23. Compensation to be paid annually out of income of gurdwara 216
24. Payment to heir of person compensated 216
25. Manner in which compensation is to be paid and recovered if not duly paid 216
25-A Power of tribunal to pass decrees for possession in favour of the committees of Gurdwaras 217
26. Entry of rights of gurdwaras in revenue records 221
27. Treatment of property dedicated to a Notified Sikh Gurdwara but under management of trustees  221
28. Suits for possession of undisputed property of Notified Sikh Gurdwaras 223
29. Exclusion of jurisdiction of the courts 227
30. Decision by courts on certain  claims in certain circumstances 228
31. Courts not to continue certain proceedings pending decision as to whether a place is or is not a Sikh Gurdwara 233
32. Transfer of suits pending in court 235
33. Disputes relating to rights of office-holder after a year from commencemnet of Act 237
34. Appeal against orders of a tribunal 237
35. Court fees 239
36. No court to take cognizance of manner in which the State Government or tribunal exercises its power under the Act 239
37. Courts not to pass an order or grant or execute a decree inconsistent with decision of a tribunal 241


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 gudwara 245


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 purposes of this Act 251
41. Control of Sikh Gurdwaras 252

Chapter VI

The Board

42. Name of Board 255
43. Composition and constitution of the Board 260
43-A. Constitution of new Board 261
44. Constituencies for election of members of Board 263
45. Qualifications of elected members 268
46. Qualifications of nominated members 271
47. Date of Board election 273
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 roll 275
49. Qualifications of electors 275
50. Right to vote 276
51. Term of membership 277
52. Effect of subsequent disability to serve as member of Board 278
53. Vacancy in Board how to be filled 279
54. First meeting of the Board 280
55. Annual general meeting 280
56. Notice of meeting 280
57. Power of member to call meeting 281
58. Office of Board 281
59. Quorum of Board in general meeting 281
60. Chairman at meetings of the Board 281
61. Decision of questions before Board 282
62. Office-bearers and executive committee of Board. 282
63. Annual election of executive committee. 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 Board 285
68. Remuneration of members of executive committee. 285
69. Servants of the Board; their appointment and punishment 285

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 Commission. 296
73. Remuneration of the members of the Commission. 296
74. Officers and servants of the Commission 296
75. Expenses to be shared by Government and Board 296
76. Jurisdiction and procedure of Commission. 298
77. Court and office of Commission. 309
78. Vacancy in Commission 310
79. Removal of member of Commission 310
80. Election of president of Commission 318
81. Settlement of difference of opinion in Commission 320
82. Costs in proceedings may be made payable out of income of Sikh Gurdwara 320
83 Dissolution of Commission 320
84. Decision as to whether a person is or is not a patit 321

Chapter VIII

Committees of Gurdwaras

85. Committees of Gurdwaras 322
86. Committees of gurdwaras other than those specified in section 85 328
87. Constitutions of committee not specially provided for. 329
88. Constitution of committees 333
89. Election of members 335
90. Qualification for election to committee. 336
91. Qualification for nomination to a committee 337
92. Qualification of electors 338
93. Right to vote 338
94. Period of continuance of committees. 338
94-A. Incorporation of committees 339
95. Effect of subsequent disability to service as a member of a committee 339
96. Vacancies in committees 340
98. Committees to meet at least three times a year 341
99. Notice of meeting 341
100. Quorum of Committee 342
101. Presidents and vice-presidents of committees 342
102. Decisions of questions before committees 342
103. Minutes to be recorded 342
104. Resignation of president and members of committee 343
104-A. Servants of the Committee, their appointement and punishment 343
105. Exclusion of Board acting as committee from operation of this chapter 343

Chapter IX


106. Object on which the funds of a gurdwara may be spent 344
106-A. Utilization of surplus income 347
107. Annual contribution to Board 347
108. Formation of General Board Fund 348
108-A. Research fund 350
108-B. Religious fund 351
108-C. Research and religious fund to be governed by the Act 352
109. Funds transferred to Board by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee 352
110. Funds held in trust by the Board for specified purposes 353
111. General Trust Fund 353
112. Separate funds to be maintained for each trust 354
113. Trust funds to be deposited in banks 354
114. Board to maintain accounts of all trust funds and a General Board Fund 354
115. Audit of accounts 355
116. Auditor's report 355
117. Board to consider auditor's report 356
118. Payment of expenses of audit 356
119. Budget of Board 357
120. Accounts to be maintained by Committees 357
121. Audit of committee's account 357
122. Report  of Auditor 358
123. Budget of committees 360
124. Recovery of contributions 361

Chapter X

Powers and Duties of the Board

125. Power and duties of the Board generally 362
126. Board may hold and administer trusts 362
127-A. Collection of dues payable to notified Sikh Gurdwaras left in Pakistan 362
128. Control by Board over executive committee 364
129. What matters may be discussed by Board in general meeting 364
130. Settling of schemes of administration 364
131. Exclusion of Board acting as committee from operation of section 130 365
132. Power of Board to make bye-laws 365

Chapter XI

Power and Duties of the Committees

133. General powers of committees. 372
134. Power of committee to dismiss office-holders 372
135. Procedure when hereditary office-holder or minister is dismissed 373
136. Appointment of  ministers and office-holders 375
137. Registers to be kept for gurdwaras 376
138. Alienation of immovable trust property 377
139. Power of committee to make regulations 377
140. Power of committee to make regulations re offering at Sikh Gurdwara 378

Chapter XII


141. Salaries of office-holders to be their property 379
142. Right of interested persons to complain to commission in respect of misfeasance, etc. 379
143. Notice of application to be given 387
144. Government not to interfere with gurdwaras except as provided by this Act or any other Act 388
144-A. Power to denotify or exempt non-historical Gurdwaras 389
145. Act of Board or committee not to be invalidated by informality 389
146. Power of State Government to make rules 398
147. Power of the Stae Government to invest with judicial powers officers appointed to enquire into conduct of elections 398
148. Language of the commission 398
148-A. Repeal 399

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 62 401
148-C. Provisions relating to the existing local committees functioning under the Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala 404
148-D. Provisions as to employees of the Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala, and local committees functioning under it 404
148-E. Special provisions regarding the assets and liabilities of Interim Gurdwara Board, Patiala 404
148-F. Power to remove difficulties 405

Chapter XIII

Electoral Offences

149. Prohibition of public meetings on the Election day 406
150. Disturbances at election meetings 406
151. Maintenance of secrecy of voting 406
152. Officers etc., at elections not to act for candidates or to influence voting 407
153. Prohibition of canvassing in or near polling stations 407
154. Penalty for disorderly conduct in or near polling station 408
155. Penalty for misconduct at the polling station 408
156. Penalty for illegal hiring or procuring of conveyances at elections 409
157. Breaches of official duty in connection with elections  409
158. Removal of ballot papers from polling station to be an offence 410
159. Other offences and penalties therefor 410
160. Prosecution regarding certain offences 412
161. Amendment of Act V of 1898 412
  Schedule I 415
  Schedule II 430
  Schedule III 435
  I The Sikh Gurdwaras (Supplementary) Act, 1925 437
  II The Sikh Gurdwaras Rules 1925 438
  III The Sikh Gurdwara Board Election Rules 1959 445
  IV List of other Rules and By-Laws under the Act 501


Author Dr.Kashmir Singh
Pages 500
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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