Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 25. Buoyant over passage of Anand Marriage Amendment Bill, 2012, in both houses of Parliament, a section of the Sikh community is now rooting for further amendments in the Anand Marriage Act 1909, while others are advocating amendment in Article 25 of the constitution that clubs Sikhs with Hindus.
Akal Takht to set up a panel to deliberate on the issue noted lawyer H S Phoolka has urged Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to form a committee, which should seek opinion from the entire Sikh community and decide what more amendments could be made in the Anand Marriage Act. In a letter written to the Jathedar, Phoolka said, “Now that the amendment, facilitating registration of Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, has been passed by Parliament, it is the right time to evolve a consensus in the community on future amendments.”
He said the Sikh clergy should form a committee, which should decide whether a provision for divorce should be included in the Act or the community should demand a new marriage Act. Former Rajya Sabha MP Tarlochan Singh has also written to the Akal Takht and the SGPC to jointly form a committee to thoroughly discuss further amendments in the Anand Marriage Act.
Responding to their plea, the Jathedar said they will soon form a committee of Sikh intellectuals, which will deliberate on the issue, besides seeking views from all sections of the community. “We will decide on the future course of action once the panel submits its report,” he said. Apart from further amendments in the marriage Act, the demand for amendment in Article 25 of the Constitution, which clubs Sikhs with Hindus, is also raising its head.
Former SGPC secretary Manjeet Singh Calcutta has shot off a missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he raised the issue of Article 25 while appreciating the passage of amendments in the Anand Marriage Act, 1909. In his letter, Calcutta said, “The misunderstanding of Sikh identity arises from Article 25 (b) of the Constitution, which clubs Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains under the term Hindu. The Venkatchaliya Commission constituted by the Centre for the revision of the Indian Constitution has also recommended exclusion of Sikhs from the term Hindu. The clubbing of the Sikhs with Hindus is extremely unjust, unethical and illogical since Sikh religion is an independent religion and not an offspring or branch of any other religion.” He urged the PM to rectify this wrong by passing a “simple amendment”.
All-India Sikh Students Federation chief Karnail Singh Peermohammed said that the amendment in Article 25 of the constitution is the only solution that will give Sikhs a separate identity.