The Supreme Court today asked the Sikkim government to maintain “status quo” at the historic Gurudwara Gurudongmar in the state. The order came on a plea seeking a direction to restrain the state government from demolishing the religious structure allegedly in the name of renovation. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra disposed of the petition after the counsel appearing for the state government said that a similar plea was pending before the High Court, which would come up for hearing on September 13. The apex court then asked the petitioner to approach the High Court but ordered status quo till the matter was heard by the High Court. “We permit the applicant to be impleaded before the High Court. Be it noted, we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the matter, the High Court is free to decide the same in accordance with the law,” the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, said. The petitioner, Amritpal Singh Khalsa, had moved the apex court alleging that the state authorities have illegally removed the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, from the site and would demolish the gurdwara in the name of renovation.
He had said the petition was filed in extreme urgency due to the threat of demolition or renovation of Gurdwara Gurudongmar. The bench had yesterday asked him to serve the copy of the plea to the standing counsel of the state during the course of the day. The petitioner had alleged that state authorities have illegally removed the holy book from the gurdwara without following any code of conduct on the pretext of renovation. He had claimed there was an “imminent threat” of the gurdwara being demolished without prior intimation to the Sikh priest there.
The plea had claimed that there were several historic books and documents which indicated that Guru Nanak Ji, the first Guru of the Sikhs, had gone to the gurdwara Gurudongmar. It had sought the apex court’s direction prohibiting the authorities from carrying out any demolition or renovation work at the site. The plea had also said if the authorities wished to carry out any renovation work at the site, a prior notice of one month should be given to the priest so that appropriate action to shift the Guru Granth Sahib as per the Sikh code of conduct could be taken.