Amritsar, November 24, 2023: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Central Government, Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, State Governments, and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on issue of the process of registration of voters.
In view of the process of registration of voters and preparation of voter lists for the elections of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a socio-political organization Misl Satluj has raised this issue by filing a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The following prayers were sought by his counsel Ish Puneet Singh, Advocate:
1. In the interest of justice, to prescribe a uniform defined set procedure for registration of voters and preparation of electoral lists for Board elections under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925;
2. To enable registration of voters through an online process for the elections to the Board under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, in the interest of justice;
3. Maintaining continuous voter lists for each constituency to be updated before each election process instead of demanding fresh registration of voters before each election.
Further, a writ in the nature of an order may be issued by this Hon’ble Court to provide for a definite procedure for the registration of voters and preparation of voter lists for the elections to the Board under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. To prescribe, in the interest of justice, the procedure to be followed in this regard to fill the void which has not been determined by the accountable authorities;
The process of voter registration not receiving enough attention due to the fact that no prescribed procedure is being followed by the authorities and also due to the fact that the procedure being followed is archaic.
Misal Satluj, in its petition seeking greater participation and transparency in voter registration, has sought to establish a uniform mechanism for the process.
Additionally, the society has advocated the adoption of technology in the process of registration of voters and preparation of voter lists under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, of 1925.
Remember, the Election Commission of India had started online registration in 2015, hence taking it as its basis, Misal Satluj has also demanded to implement it.
Misal Satluj spokesperson Bhai Ajepal Singh said that neither the Gurdwara Act of 1925 nor the Sikh Gurdwara Board Election Rules, of 1959 prevents it.
For example, Misal Satluj has issued another point that there is no need to re-register a person every time.
In the second demand, it has also been said that the requirement of eligible voters to re-register themselves before every election is not in the Gurdwara Act or the Election Rule Book. There is no need to register again for those Sikhs who have already voted. It is not known when and who implemented this process.
Third. Different methods of registration are being used by government officials. In some places the Patwari is asking every person to come and submit the application in person and in some places certain persons are submitting their votes only in the number of thumbs.
For example, Misal Sutlej has demanded that every issue, from the preparation of votes to the declaration of results, should be presented in writing so that there is uniformity everywhere and every year.
Misal Satluj wants to implement ways to simplify and streamline the process of voter registration for elections so that more and more people can participate in it and ensure transparency of the elections.
Sutlej’s spokesperson Bhai Ajipal Singh Brar said that for a healthy structure of any democracy, ease of voting process is the first step, but in the case of the Siromani Committee, what has made it so complicated is the common man’s interest in participating in it. Not only this, due which this structure is on the verge of collapse. If major efforts are not made in this, then the situation will resemble that of the times of Mahants and to a large extent that situation is being created. Like the Gurudwara reform movement, Misal Satluj has pledged to improve it by bringing transparency in it and by taking every intervention in the executive matters of the Sromani Committee.