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Sikhs not a minority community in Punjab: HC

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Press Trust Of India

Last Updated: December 18, 2007, 01:21 IST

Sikhs not a minority community in Punjab: HC

The court ruling was with regard to admission to institutions run by SPGC.

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday ruled that Sikhs were not a minority community in seeking admission to Sikh institutions run by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) in Punjab.

Under the notification, the institutions were permitted to reserve 50 per cent seats for members of the Sikh community.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Ajay Lamba, gave the ruling on a petition filed by one Sahil Mittal, a resident of Punjab's Sangrur district.

It observed there was no material or even a grievance that as a group the Sikhs apprehended deprivation of their religious, cultural or educational rights in Punjab from any other community which may be in majority and which may gain political power.

The petitioner, who had sought admission in an SGPC-run institution but was denied the same, contended as per census figures, Sikhs were in a majority in Punjab.

He further contended that the state was to be taken as a unit for declaring Sikhs as a minority community whereas in the notification the country was considered as a unit for the purpose.

Allowing the petition, the Bench held that the state of Punjab while issuing the notification had not applied relevant parameters.

It observed the country could not be taken as a unit as was done by the Punjab government.

"As a consequence of the impugned notification, additional protection has been confirmed on a group of citizens which clearly violates Article 14 of the Constitution," the Bench said.

Reacting to the ruling, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar told PTI that any decision on approaching the Supreme Court would be taken after studying the judgment.

Media Advisor to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Harcharan Bains, said the state would legally contest the order.

"We will take legal steps to safeguard the interest of minorities, especially in the wake of the High Court ruling,” he said.

The SGPC President said nearly 2,000 students were being admitted to six educational institutions run by the SGPC annually. He said those admitted under the reservation category would not be affected by the ruling.

first published:December 18, 2007, 01:21 IST
last updated:December 18, 2007, 01:21 IST