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HC issues notice to Div Com for allotting two seats to Bandipore district for elections to SGCB Kashmir

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Petition by Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee says Bandipore with no Sikh population has been given two seats while Pulwama with huge Sikh population given only one

Srinagar: The High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for allotting two seats to Bandipore district which has no Sikh population for elections to the Sikh Gurdwara Committee Board (SGCB) Kashmir as against one seat for Pulwama district with a sizeable number of Sikh residents.

A petition had been filed by Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Kashmir through its president S Kulwant Singh against the notice of election dated 17.02.2023 issued by returning officer (Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir) for holding elections to the Board.

By virtue of the notice, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts have been allotted one seat (member) while as Baramulla and Bandipore districts have been assigned two seats (members).

The primary ground of challenge as per the petitioner is that in district Bandipore there is no Sikh population or Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, as such, there is no representation that is entitled to partake in elections to the SGCB.

He averred that he has filed representation before the Committee, stating that the seat of Pulwama has been shifted to district Bandipore notwithstanding the fact that there is neither any Sikh population nor any elected Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in the area.

Contrarily district Pulwama has a huge population of Sikhs but this fact of the matter has not been considered by the Committee, he said further.

Counsel for petitioner to reinforce his point said the Divisional Commissioner’s notice in itself reflects and shows that there is no population of Sikh community in district Bandipore.

As a consequence impugned notice qua district Bandipore requires to be set at naught inasmuch as it will badly affect the rights of Sikh community of district Pulwama, he pleaded.

Justice Vinoid Chatterjee Koul after hearing the petition said a prima facie case is made out for grant of ad interim relief at this stage and he issued notice to the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.

A senior additional advocate general of the government accepted the notice on behalf of the respondent authorities. He prayed for and was granted two weeks to file a reply as also to produce records relating to this case.

In the meantime, subject to objections and till the next date before the bench, status quo as on date with regard to elections shall be maintained, directed the court. The matter is posted for further hearing on the 15th of March.


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