‘Unfortunate’ that Punjab Guv doesn’t know if calling special Assembly session was legal: CM

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today said it is “very unfortunate” that Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit does not know whether calling of the two-day special Assembly session in June was legal or illegal.
Purohit on July 17 wrote to the chief minister, saying he believed that calling the special session was a “breach of law and procedure”.
Mann said during the previous Amarinder Singh Government’s tenure, the Assembly session was called twice without the permission of the governor as the session was not prorogued.
“It is very unfortunate that the Punjab governor does not know whether the session was legal or illegal,” Mann told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
The session was called after consulting the experts of the Constitution, he added.
He was responding to a question on Purohit’s letter in which the governor said the calling of the Assembly session was likely a breach of law and procedure and indicated that he may not sign off soon on the Bills passed during that sitting of the House.
Purohit had also questioned the legality of the Bills and had said that he was actively considering seeking the Attorney General’s advice on them or referring them to the President.
The governor’s response had come after Mann urged him to sign the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, aimed at ensuring a free-to-air telecast of ‘Gurbani’ from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
It was one of the four Bills passed during the June 19-20 session.
Mann also accused the governor of delaying the signing of the Bill.
With this amendment, the state Government is not going to have any right to broadcast, the chief minister said.
Replying to a question, Mann slammed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for trying to ensure that the broadcast rights of Gurbani from the Golden Temple remain with just one TV channel.
He again questioned the SGPC’s motive behind asking the particular channel to continue live broadcasting of Gurbani even after the agreement between the two sides expires on July 23.
“Why Shiromani Committee (SGPC) is requesting only one channel? It is a private channel. Why is it not requesting other channels (for the broadcast of Gurbani),” asked Mann.
Several channels are ready for broadcasting Gurbani, he asserted.
Surprisingly, instead of working in the larger interest of humanity, the SGPC is acting on the “whims and fancies” of the opposition leader Sukhbir Singh Badal’s family by “inordinately delaying” the matter of free telecast of gurbani, Mann alleged.
Mann said the former jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, had a year ago batted for launching a channel for the free-to-air telecast of Gurbani but the SGPC has been in deep slumber since then.
Mann said the current jathedar, in his letter to the Punjab Government and the SGPC last month, did not name any particular channel for the live telecast of gurbani, but being “more loyal than the king” the SGPC has asked the same channel to continue broadcasting the Sikh religious hymns just to appease its masters.
It is unfortunate that the personal interests of those at the helm of affairs in the SGPC are keeping the ‘sangat’ bereft of the sacred Gurbani, he said, adding, people will never forgive them for this “sin” against humanity.
Mann reiterated that if given a chance, the state Government can perform the ‘sewa’ of making all the arrangements for a live and free telecast of Gurbani within 24 hours.
Citing the example of live feed of most Government events, he said most of the time, the arrangements are made within an hour.
This will ensure the free telecast of gurbani on every satellite and web channel too, within seconds thereby immensely benefitting the masses, he stated.
On Friday, the SGPC had appealed to the management of GNext Media (PTC channel) to continue the Gurbani broadcast from the Golden Temple until the SGPC’s own satellite channel is established, “in view of the sentiments of the Sikh community and the order given by jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib”.
The SGPC’s agreement with GNext Media, which is currently telecasting gurbani from the Sikh shrine, will expire on July 23.
PTC is often linked to the Badal family.
Mann said the feed of Gurbani can be given to all channels while the SGPC can ask them not to show advertisements during the broadcast of the sacred hymns. And if any channel violates it, it can be blacked out, said Mann.
The AAP-led State Government and the SGPC have locked horns over the live broadcast of Gurbani.
While the SGPC asserts that the broadcast rights should be reserved for the apex Sikh body, Mann has sought its free telecast on all TV channels. (PTI)