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Legal Issues Related to the Post of 'Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib'

– SGPC was created under the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, and its functioning is governed by the provisions of this Act.

– The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, according to its Preamble, is to provide for the better administration of certain Sikh Gurdwaras and for inquiries into matters and settlement of disputes connected therewith. [Besides SGPC, there are other elected Sikh Gurdwara Management Committees in India – at Delhi, Haryana, Nanded, Patna, and Jammu & Kashmir.]

– There is no provision for the post of 'Jathedar, Sri Akal-Takht Sahib' under this Act.

– In 1952, however, a Parbandh Scheme was passed, in which it was mentioned that 'Head Ministers' of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib would be known as 'Jathedars' of these Takhts, respectively [attached], which was not as per law.

– In practice, the incumbent of the so-called post of 'Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib' is an employee of SGPC. But, there are no guidelines defined for various aspects of the post, such as, qualifications for candidature, appointment, service rules, powers and duties, rules for pay-scale, etc. The secretariat, security, perks, facilities, etc., attributed to the post of Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib are not mentioned. The limit and the nature of authorised rights and duties performed by a Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, in observance are beyond those of the rights and duties specified in the Act.

The SGPC has been performing a greater role than the allocated task of management of some gurdwaras, it being the oldest organisation of the Sikhs. Unfortunately, however, the issue of Jathedar, Sri Akal Takht Sahib, which is of immense significance to the Panth, could not get its due handling.

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