HomeCurrent affairsPunjab Assembly Passes Bill for Free Telecast of Gurbani from Golden Temple

Punjab Assembly Passes Bill for Free Telecast of Gurbani from Golden Temple

The Punjab Assembly recently approved a bill proposed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, allowing the free broadcast of sacred Gurbani from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann emphasized that Gurbani is a universal right and should be accessible to all without cost. The bill involves amending The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 to include Section 125 A, which mandates the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to ensure the live telecast of Holy Gurbani from Sri Harmandir Sahib is freely available to all media outlets.

Eliminating Control and Commercialization:

CM Mann stated that the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023 aims to eliminate the undue control of ‘Modern Day Masands’ over the telecast of Gurbani and prevent its commercialization. The amendment intends to ensure that the live telecast of Holy Gurbani remains free from any form of commercial exploitation. The Act, officially known as the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Act, 2023, will come into effect upon its publication in the Official Gazette.

Amendments to the Act:

The amendment introduces Section 125-A in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, which mandates the SGPC to facilitate uninterrupted live broadcasts of Gurbani without any on-screen advertisements, commercials, or distortion. The board will be responsible for propagating the teachings of the Gurus by making the live feed, comprising audio or audio video, freely available to all interested media houses, platforms, outlets, and channels.

Promoting the Global Spread of Gurbani:

CM Mann, as a devout Sikh, supports the global free-to-air telecast of Gurbani. He clarified that his opposition lies in the control exerted by a specific channel over the telecast, which he deems unwarranted and unjustified. The intention behind the amendment is to disseminate the message of Gurbani worldwide and not grant exclusive rights to any specific channel or individual.

Criticism and SGPC’s Response:

SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami strongly condemned CM Mann’s remarks, asserting that the Punjab Government has no authority to make changes to the Act. Dhami emphasized that only Parliament can amend the Act, with SGPC passing a resolution regarding any proposed changes. Opposition parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress, echoed similar sentiments, questioning the state government’s right to make such amendments and suggesting they may be unconstitutional.

The Punjab Assembly’s passing of the bill for the free telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple reflects the AAP government’s commitment to ensuring the accessibility of sacred Sikh teachings. The amendment to The Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 aims to eliminate undue control and prevent the commercialization of Gurbani, while promoting its global dissemination. However, there is criticism from SGPC and opposition parties regarding the state government’s authority to make such changes. The issue highlights the ongoing dialogue surrounding the balance between religious affairs and legislative authority.

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