In Sikh Temple Turlock, California v. Chahal, (CA App, Feb 20, 2018), a California state appeals court upheld the trial court’s resolution of a governance dispute between two factions in a Sikh Temple.  As described by the court:Following a bench trial, the [trial] court found the election of the First Board was valid. The court further concluded the April 2013 election did not occur and that appellants took control of the Temple by usurpation. Accordingly, the trial court reinstated the First Board and ordered that a judicially supervised election take place. The court also enjoined five of the appellants from serving as officers or directors of the Temple for five years.The appeals court rejected challenges to the trial court’s decision, including a a free exercise challenge to the 5-year injunction.  The court said in part: Appellants submitted evidence that a Sikh has a general obligation to perform selfless service. However, there was no testimony that serving on the board is itself a religious act, constitutes a religious practice, or is required to satisfy the seva obligation. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise…. Thus, appellants’ claim that the ban infringes on the free exercise of their religion has no support in the record.



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