The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings before a Punjab court in connection with a cheating and forgery case against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremos Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal [Sukhbir Singh Badal vs Balwant Khera and ors]..A Bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian issued notice on the plea filed by Badals against an August 2021 decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court rejecting the plea to quash the case against them..A Hoshiaspur resident, one Balwant Singh Khera, had filed a criminal complaint before an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in 2009 accusing the SAD of submitting separate constitutions with the Gurdwara Election Commission and the Election Commission of India (ECI).This was done to be recognised as a political party to contest polls, including those of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). The criminal complaint alleged that on one hand, the party claimed to be a secular party and gave a declaration to abide by the principles of secularism in its constitution filed before ECI while on the other hand, it was contesting elections for a religious body, SGPC, thereby giving it the colour of a religious party.The Badals and another accused, Daljit Singh Cheema, moved the present plea before the top court challenging the proceedings before the Magistrate. At today's hearing, counsel for the petitioners submitted that being religious does not run contrary to the principles of secularism. Therefore, a political party contesting elections to a Gurdwara committee does not imply it is not secular, they contended. Advocate Indira Unninayar, appearing for Balwant Singh Khera, the original complainant, was told by the Bench that she can could a reply and would be heard at a later date..Senior Advocates RS Cheema and KV Vishwanathan appeared for Sukhbir Singh Badal and Parkash Singh Badal respectively. Advocate Sandeep Kapur appeared for Daljit Singh Cheema. The petitions were filed through Karanjawala & Co., and the brief was lead by Senior Partners Nandini Gore and Sandeep Kapur with advocates Virinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Aditi Bhatt, Tarannum Cheema, Tahira Karanjawala, Niharika Karanjawala, Apoorva Pandey, Arjun Sharma, Abhimanshu Dhyani, Yash Dubey, G Kashyap, Sanya Dua, Rose Verma, Advocates.