R Sedhuraman, Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, December 13. The Supreme Court today rejected a plea for extending by six months the December 31, 2012, deadline for holding elections to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee (DSGMC).
A Bench comprising Justices RM Lodha and Anil Dave said it had granted more than three months in its September 17, 2012, order for holding the elections and there “is no justification now for granting extension of time.”
Arguing for the DSGMC, senior advocate Soli Sorabjee sought time till June 30 for completing the poll process as the Delhi Government had decided to amend the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act 1971 to increase the tenure of the committee’s president to four years, which would be equivalent to the tenure of the general house.
The amendment would also ensure that the president was elected directly and not by a committee, as was done at present, it was contended.
The proposed move would end the possibility of corruption and horse-trading in gurdwara affairs and also give enough time to the president to act on the agenda. Further, the president would be accountable directly to the electorate as well as the committee. Appearing for the Dashmesh Sewa Society, counsel Abinash Mishra and Gurbaksh Singh opposed the plea, contending that this was nothing but a ploy by the present president to retain his control over gurdwara affairs in his capacity as a caretaker.
The Bench made it clear that it did not want to come in the way of any amendment, but the “elections must be held” within the deadline which was still more than 15 days away.
The apex court also explained that the move to amend the Gurdwara Act “cannot be a ground” for seeking more time.
The applicants pleaded that since the election procedure would take six weeks, the Bench should consider their plea.
As the Bench was not convinced, they sought to withdraw their application, upon which the court said the plea was being “dismissed as withdrawn.”