New Delhi: Hearing a petition filed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over voting rights for Sehajdhari Sikhs, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Centre, Punjab government and Sehajdhari Sikh Federation. The Apex Court in its order said that the newly-elected SGPC Board would continue to function normally.

However the court refused to stay the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s previous order which said that the Central government didn’t have any right to issue a notification barring voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs.

The fresh observation of the Apex Court was pronounced by a bench comprising Justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale while hearing the petition filed by the SGPC challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict that had restored the voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs and asked for a reply within six weeks. The Central government had issued a notification on October 8, 2003 barring the voting rights of the Sehajdharis.

Representing SGPC, senior counsels Harish Salve and Kamaldeep Gulati on Friday expressed dissent with the previous ruling of the High Court. They also added that the court didn’t consider the decisions of the constitutional bench in Gurleen Kaur case. The bench’s decision had ruled that anyone who abides by the cardinal tenets of the Sikh religion is a Sikh in true sense.