PIL challenges ‘discrimination’ against rural candidates

The PIL specifically challenges the provision that restricts candidates with three or more children from contesting in local body elections.
Image used for representational purpose. (File photo)
Image used for representational purpose. (File photo)

HYDERABAD: Rapolu Bhaskar, an advocate and social worker, has filed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 213 of the Panchayat Raj Act 2018.

The PIL, slated for hearing on Monday, challenges alleged discrimination against rural candidates in local body elections, particularly regarding the restriction on candidates with more than three children.

Bhaskar moved the High Court, on what he deems a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

The PIL specifically challenges the provision that restricts candidates with three or more children from contesting in local body elections.

The PIL has made the State of Telangana, represented by various departments including panchayat raj & rural development, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, law and legislative affairs, commissioners of panchayat raj and rural development as party. The crux of the matter lies in the alleged discriminatory practices between urban and rural candidates.

According to Section 213 of the Telangana State Panchayat Raj Act 2018, individuals with three or more children are barred from contesting local body elections, including gram panchayat, MPTC member, and ZPTC member posts. Bhaskar contends that this provision does not extend to urban elections, where candidates are allowed to contest for municipal councillor, mayor, corporator, and chairman positions under the Telangana Municipalities Act, regardless of the number of children they have.

He contends that this distinction is a clear violation of Articles 13, 14, and 19 of the Constitution of India, and also runs afoul of the principles of natural justice. The PIL urges the court to declare Section 213 of the Telangana State Panchayat Raj Act 2018 unconstitutional and seeks an immediate directive to end the alleged discrimination between urban and rural candidates.

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