1. This petition has been filed under S. 24 read with S. 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Art. 227 of the Constitution of India for transfer of the application moved under S. 142 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, which is pending before the Sikh Gurdwaras Judicial Commission, Amritsar, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Commission').
2. It may be pointed out at the outset that Chapter VII, starting with S. 70 of the aforesaid Act inter alia deals with the constitution of the Commission, the appointment and removal of its members, the extent of jurisdiction and the procedure to be adopted by the Commission Admittedly, the Commission is the creation of a special statute, that is, the aforesaid Act. Learned counsel for the petitioners did not contend before me that the Commission could be said to be a Court subordinate to the High Court as such he pressed his petition by invoking Art. 227 of the Commission could be said to be a Court subordinate to the High Court as such he pressed this petition by invoking Art. 227 of the Constitution, the invocation of which was not disputed by the learned counsel for the respondents.
3. All the same the first and the foremost hurdle before the petitioners is that admittedly the Commission, functioning at Amritsar is the only Commission having jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the abovementioned application under S. 142 of the Act. That being so, the application cannot conceivably be transferred to any other Commission, since there is none else. Tikka Harbhajan Singh v. Haribachan Singh, 1966 Cur LJ 543(1), by which a petition pending before a Financial Commissioner was transferred by this Court to another Financial Commissioner has no relevance to the present case. Faced with this situation learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the application was unable to seek support to the contention either on principle or on authority, the simple reason being that the abovesaid Act, which is a special statute, exclusively confers the jurisdiction on the Commission. Furthermore, Art. 227 bestows power of superintendence over the Commission, Learned counsel for the petitioners was unable to show how in the exercise of this power the case can be transferred to this Court and tried on the original side.
4. Learned counsel then argued that the Commission consists of three members but the petitioners have grievance against only one of them, namely, S. Dara Singh. In support of his contention that this Court may direct S. Dara Singh not to participate in the proceedings of the case in hand, reference was made to sub-section (3) of S. 80 of the Act, which is in the following terms:--
'No proceedings shall be taken by the Commission unless at least two members are present and sitting together : provided that notices and summonses may be issued by the president or a member nominated by the president for this purpose, sitting alone.'
It was further highlighted that the provision of Section 13(1) of the Act dealing with the functioning of the Tribunal constituted under the Act is almost identical. A Full Bench of the Lahore High Court in Hira Das v. Shiromani Gurdawara Parbandhak Committee, AIR 1931 Lahore 385, ruled that under the provision the Section 13 of the Act it was legal for two of its members in the absence of the third finally to decide the case before them. Thus, the analogy drawn was that even if S. Dara Singh is excluded, the Commission can legally function to decide this case.
5. On the other hand learned counsel for the respondents argued that the Full Bench decision of Lahore High Court was in a different context, wherein the validity of the decision of the case decided by two members of the Tribunal was under challenge. In the present case what the petitioners desire is that the statutory constitution of the Commission, which consists of three members, be reduced to two by a direction of this Court. The argument ignored the fact the Act, for the smooth functioning of the Commission had left scope for two members to conduct the proceedings. The via media suggested by the learned counsel for the petitioners has, therefore, not impressed me.
6. Adverting now to Full Bench decision of Mohamed Abdul Raoof v. State of Hyderabad, AIR 1951 Hvd. 50, the learned counsel for the petitioners laid stress on the following observations made by the learned Judges :
'Steps may be taken by the authorities concerned to have other members in the Tribunal or to have the case placed before any other duly constitution forum.'
That Tribunal was constituted under the Special Regulation. Learned counsel for the petitioners was unable to refer to the provisions of the said Regulation, within the framework of which the abovequoted direction issued by the learned Judges under Art. 227 of the Constitution was workable. This ruling is, therefore, of no avail to the petitioners.
7. Learned counsel for the petitioners then contended that as the atmosphere in Amritsar is surcharged against them, they have danger to their lives in attending the proceedings in Amritsar. Request was, therefore, made that the Commission be directed to try this case at some other place in or near about Haryana where the Gurdwara in question is situate. The leaned counsel for the respondent controverted this allegation, at any rate, he contended that police protection could be sought by the petitioners. Above all u/s 77 of the Act the State Government fixed Amritsar as the place where the Commission has its Court and Office.
8. For the foregoing reasons, I found it futile to hear the learned counsel for the petitioners on merits.
9. In the result this petition fails and the same is hereby dismissed.
10. Petition dismissed.