If someone is found guilty of first-degree murder, what does Sikhism say about
exactly how she should be punished? Sikhism has no system of law or justice.
How do you deal with thieves?
Sikhism is given a clear system of law. Satguru Gobind Singh in his farsightedness
knew that not all crimes are the same and thus no one punishment can be given for
them all: does the thief who steals bread due to hunger receive same punishment as
one who steals a car due to greed? I think not! Thus Satguru said "khalsaa mero
roop hai khaas, khalsay main houn karo nivaas". The Khalsa is my true form, I abide
within the Khalsa.
Satguru jee gave power to decide these things to the Khalsa in the form of the Panj
piaaray. The Panj piaaray look at each case and then give a case by case decision.
Not blanket amputations for all as some religions may prescribe. There are rehit
namas and tankha namas dictated by Satguru Gobind Singh that clearly outline what
is right and what is wrong. Adultery for your information is a bujjar kurehat or
cardinal sin for which a Sikh is thrown out of the Panth and must present him/herself
before the Panj Piaaray for re-initiation and corrective measures.
Even beyond the rehit namas and tankha namas, there was the concept of Miri and
Piri: temporal and spiritual aspects to Gurmat. Satguru Hargobind Sahib gave us
the Sikh parliament of Akaal Takhat. The Sarbat Khalsa is the parliament and the
motions passed are called "gurmatas". A system of passing gurmattas is by consulting
Satguru Granth Sahib and then voting on each motion. The Five Takhats are the
Centres of Sikh power with the main headquarter being Akaal Takhat. The Five
Jathehdars are the "cabinet" of the Panth and organise the Panth's movement. The
Jathehdar of Akaal Takhat has power as spokesperson of the Panth. Akalee Phoola
Singh for example was Jathehdar during Maharaja Ranjeet Singh's time and awarded
him the punishment of a fine and a caning due to his adultery with the Muslim girl
Moran. Thus it is clear that Sikhism does have a law in Rehit namas and tankha
namas along with the rehit which is given during Amrit Sanchaar. The local
decisions are taken by Panj Piaaray which can be appealed to the Takhats and
final decisions are taken by the Akaal Takhat. The Sikh parliament is Sarbat
Khalsa and motions are called Gurmatas. Seems like a system to me.