Monday, June 17, 2024

Punjab Assembly passes Bill to eliminate control over Gurbani live telecast

The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday passed the Sikh Gurdwara (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in the absence of the main opposition Congress that boycotted the session, paving the way for eliminating the undue control over the free to air telecast of the sacred Gurbani from the Golden Temple.

Gurbani is the term used by Sikhs to refer to compositions of the Sikh Gurus.

All three members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BSP combine opposed the Bill that was introduced in the House by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who said only one channel had control over telecasting the Gurbani.

“Now, this channel along with all channels would also get free feed of the live Gurbani,” he said.

Speaking on it, SAD legislator Manpreet Ayali said one channel shouldn’t have the exclusive rights over the live telecast of Gurbani.

“The SGPC should run its own channel. The government should not interfere in the SGPC affairs.”

He appealed to the government to reconsider its decision of tabling the Bill in the House. “It will set a wrong precedent and in the coming days governments would start interfering in the SGPC matters.”

The Cabinet on Monday approved to amend the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 and to insert Section 125-A into the Act, thereby casting duty on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body for Sikhs, to ensure free to air live telecast of the holy Gurbani.

The Chief Minister said this amendment has been made with the objective that entire humanity is able to listen to and see the live telecast of holy Gurbani free of cost.

Mann said this Bill is aimed at ensuring that Gurbani is not commercialised in any manner.

The Chief Minister said this Act will be called the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2023, and will come into force on and with effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

He said in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, after Section 125, Section 125-A would be inserted for the live telecast of the Gurbani free of cost.

The SGPC has reacted sharply to the move, asking the state government not to interfere in religious matters.

Responding to the Cabinet decision, SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami said: “This (Gurdwara Act) can only be amended by the Centre as the Punjab government has got no right to do so.”

The SGPC has given exclusive rights of Gurbani telecast to G-Next Media Private Ltd, the company of the Badal family that owns PTC channels, under an agreement signed on July 24, 2012. The agreement was “irrevocable” for its entire duration of 11 years.

This agreement is going to end on July 24 and the SGPC is mulling over inviting open bids, subject to the conditions pertaining to the preservation of ‘maryada’.

The Chief Minister had been questioning over giving exclusive rights to a particular channel to telecast Gurbani.

20230620-142804

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular