BENGALURU: Expressing displeasure over husbands stepping into the shoes of their elected wives to discharge official duties and functions as proxies in the Yadgir Zilla Panchayat, the High Court on Friday restrained them from interfering in ZP meetings.
“The allegation is that the husbands of elected women representatives are entering the office of the Zilla Panchayat and illegally seeking to participate in meetings on behalf of their wives. This is a serious allegation. This should not happen,” the High Court said.
A division bench of Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice R B Budihal made this observation while passing an interim order and issued notice to Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department and Deputy Commissioner of Yadgir.
This was in response to PIL filed by Daksh, an NGO, seeking directions to prohibit the husbands functioning as proxies.
Daksh stated in its petition that demands of the husbands were based on the premise that the elected women did not understand how to work, were not familiar with ‘official parlance’ and required the assistance of their respective husbands to carry out their duties.
“Article 243-D of the Constitution has specifically provided reservation for women in panchayats at village, intermediate and district level. Allowing husbands in the meeting effectively defeats the purpose of reservation and is ultra vires of the provisions of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act,” Daksh said.
The Yadgir ZP president permitting the husbands of elected women representatives to attend the meeting held on May 18, 2016 was arbitrary and illegal, as it opposed the basic principle of a democratic form of government, stated Daksh. The president is not bestowed with any such powers by law, it added.
The decision of the DC to direct the ZP Chief Executive Officer to make arrangements for unelected representatives to participate in the ZP proceedings is illegal.
Daksh prayed the court to call for records/circular which may have been issued by the DC to allow husbands of elected women in the meeting and prohibit them from attending meetings on behalf of their respective elected wives.
Twelve of the 24 members of the Yadgir ZP are women.