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Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) are religious parties not registered under the Societies Registration Act but it would not be fatal to the election results, the Directorate of Gurdwara Elections (DGE) today informed a Delhi court.
The regulatory body's response came on a batch of pleas challenging the Gurdwara election results on the ground that the reserved symbols could be alloted only to religious parties
which are registered under the Societies Registration Act.
Besides the DGE, the two outfits--SAD and SAD (Delhi)-- also conceded before Additional District Judge Kamini Lau that they are religious parties not registered under the Societies Registration Act.
They claimed that it would not be fatal to the poll results in view of certain orders passed by the Delhi High Court in previous litigation and they do not need to be registered as they are old religious parties.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the symbols alloted to these parties, alleging that as per the 2010 amended Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (Election of Members), Rules, religious parties are required to be registered under the Societies Registration Act and only registered parties are entitled to get reserved symbols.
A total of 36 similar petitions have been filed in the court which today conducted the hearing in 23 such matters.
The court said, "In the meanwhile, all proceedings conducted pursuant to declaration of results of the elections dated February 26 shall be subject to the outcome of the election petitions."
It listed the matter for April 1 for filing of replies by the candidates of the two parties, DGE and returning officers.
Advocate Inder Chand, appearing for the plaintiffs who are members of Panthak Sewa Dal and lost the election, said that after the 2010 amendment in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (Election of Members), Rules, religious parties are required to be registered and there is separate provision for the new parties.
The court had earlier issued summons to the parties on the suits and directed the DGE to take necessary steps to preserve the records relating to ward elections which are under challenge and produce these in court as and when directed.
It had said a competent officer of the DGE shall appear before it along with the records relating to the allocation/ allotment of the reserved symbols to the recognised religious parties and information on their registration under the Societies Registration Act.
The plaintiffs had contended that the DGE improperly
allocated the reserved symbols to the candidates sponsored by the parties not registered under the Society Registration Act.
SAD and SAD (Delhi) had been allotted reserved symbols of 'bucket' and 'car' respectively.
The plaintiffs have said they had contested the elections as candidates of the Panthak Seva Dal, claiming it was a registered religious party with the DGE and was alloted reserved symbol of 'kisan driving tractor'.
The suits have claimed that candidates of SAD and SAD (Delhi) were alloted reserved symbols despite the fact that the parties were not eligible to be recognised as religious parties under rule 14 of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (Election of Members) Rules.
These have alleged the DGE and the returning officers of the wards had "acted illegally, arbitrarily and contrary to the mandate of law while allotting reserved symbols" to the candidates of the two parties.
"There is a grave threat that the records of the elections held on February 26, 2017 may be tempered, manipulated and fabricated. For the fair play and justice, it is desirable that these be preserved and the entire records in question be seized," the suits have said.