In the wake of Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit expressing concerns over the legality of a special Assembly session held last month, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann took issue with the governor’s uncertainty, deeming it “very unfortunate.” Chief Minister Mann reminded everyone that during the tenure of the previous Amarinder Singh government, the Assembly session had been called twice without seeking the governor’s permission, as the session had not been prorogued. He emphasized that the recent special session had been carefully convened after consulting constitutional experts to ensure its legitimacy. However, Governor Purohit’s letter casting doubts on the legality of the session and the Bills passed during that period left Chief Minister Mann disheartened, as he criticized the governor’s lack of clarity and expressed concerns about potential legal complications.
Among the crucial Bills passed during the June 20-21 session was the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, designed to secure a free-to-air telecast of Gurbani from the revered Golden Temple in Amritsar. This move aimed to enable widespread access to the sacred Sikh religious hymns for the benefit of devotees. However, the issue of live broadcasting of Gurbani has become a contentious point of disagreement between the AAP-led state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). While Chief Minister Mann advocates for the free telecast of Gurbani on all television channels, the SGPC firmly believes that the broadcast rights should be exclusively reserved for the apex Sikh body.
As the debate continues, the state government and the SGPC are locked in a dispute over the ownership and control of the telecast rights, with both sides steadfast in their positions. The matter raises important questions about religious representation, media access, and the preservation of cultural heritage. The clash between the two parties underscores the complexities of managing religious affairs within the realm of governance and the delicate balance between upholding religious traditions and ensuring accessibility for the wider public.
With both the Punjab Governor and Chief Minister Mann expressing their viewpoints, the situation remains under scrutiny, and the fate of the Bills passed during the special Assembly session remains uncertain until a resolution is reached. The unfolding events warrant careful examination to ensure the protection of constitutional principles while respecting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community. As the stakeholders engage in ongoing discussions, finding common ground will be paramount to upholding democratic values and preserving the rich tapestry of India’s cultural diversity.