Sardar Hukum Singh was born on 30th August 1895 in Montgomery, West Punjab. He obtained a B.A. LLB degree from Amritsar and Punjab University Law College. From 1921 onwards, he practiced law in Montgomery.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
Alongside his legal practice, Singh actively participated in the freedom struggle. He was arrested twice, in 1923 for his involvement in anti-Simon Commission demonstrations, and in 1924 in connection with the Gurudwara Reforms Movement, which aimed to free Gurudwaras from British interference.
Singh joined politics through the Shiromani Akali Dal and later became active in the Montgomery Singh Sabha. In both organizations, he was appointed as President for three years.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Singh was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the East Punjab province on an Akali Dal ticket. During his time in the Assembly, he also served as the Puisne Judge in the State High Court at Kapurthala. His interventions in the Assembly mostly related to safeguards for the Sikh community and reservations for minorities.
In 1952, he was elected to the First Lok Sabha from PEPSU, representing the Akali Party. On 20th March 1956, he was unanimously elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the second time in 1957 from the Bhatinda. Subsequently, he was re-elected as Deputy Speaker on 17 May 1957. During his time in the Lok Sabha, he functioned as the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges, Committee on Private Members’ Bill and Resolutions, Library Committee, and Committee on Subordinate Legislation.
He returned to the Lok Sabha for the third time in 1962, this time as a member of the Congress party representing Patiala. Singh was then unanimously elected as Speaker, making him the first Sikh to hold the post. In 1967, he was appointed the Governor of Rajasthan, a post that he held until 1972.
Singh passed away on 27th May 1983.
A keen writer, Singh launched a weekly English-language journal The Spokesman in 1951 and edited it until 1956. He also authored a number of books including The Sikh Case, The Problems of Sikhs, and Russia As I Saw.
- Singh argued for special considerations to be given to Sikhs as a minority disproportionately affected by partition.
- He moved an amendment to Article 335, which would have ensured that the interests of all minorities are taken into consideration while making appointments for government posts.
- He defended the right and safeguards of the Sikhs by pointing out the injustice done to the Sikh community while drafting the laws on reservations and proposed amendments to protect Punjabi as a language.
- Biography of Sardar Hukam Singh, Partap Singh (1989).