Punjab Assembly introduces bill to ensure ‘free telecast’ of Gurbani from Golden Temple

Chandigarh, Jun 20 (PTI) The Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was introduced in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday to ensure “free telecast” of Gurbani from the Golden Temple.

The Bill was then taken up for discussion.

On Monday, the Punjab Cabinet had approved an amendment to the British-era Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 to ensure free-to-air telecast of Gurbani from Amritsar’s Golden Temple.

‘Gurbani’ is a term commonly used by Sikhs to refer to various compositions by the Sikh Gurus and other writers of Guru Granth Sahib.

Currently, Gurbani is broadcast from the Sikh shrine by PTC, a private channel often linked to the Shiromani Akali Dal’s Badal family.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs, had contested the move by the AAP-led Punjab government, saying the 1925 Act is a central legislation and can only be amended by Parliament.

However, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said the state government was fully competent to amend this Act. He reasoned that the Supreme Court had on the issue of a separate gurdwara committee for Haryana ruled that this Act was not an inter-state Act, but a state Act.