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Bill on separate identity for Sikhs introduced !

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Bill on separate identity for Sikhs introduced

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 12

A Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha today by Mr Tarlochan Singh, who is also the Chairman of National Commission for Minorities, to amend Article 25 of the Constitution.

The Bill, a private member Bill, says that in Article 25 of the Constitution in place of clause (2) sub-clause (B), the following sub-clause should be substituted: "Providing for social welfare and reform or throwing open of Hindu, Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of these religions."

Mr Tarlochan Singh has said in the statement of objects and reasons that he was moving the Bill on the basis of the recommendations of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution which gave its report to the government in March, 2002.

The Commission recommended the omission of Explanation-II to Article 25 and re-wording of sub-clause (B) of clause (2) of the Article with a view to distinctively refer to Sikh, Jaina and Buddhist religions.

In the original clause of the Constitution, it is written that "reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly".

According to Mr Tarlochan Singh, existing clause does not give a distinct and independent identity to the Sikhs and there was a long-standing demand of the community to amend the Article 25 of the Constitution.

The Buddhists and Jains would also get separate identity by passage of this Bill, he said.

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