NEW DELHI: CPI today said it "disapproves" the Supreme Court judgement upholding a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for panchayat poll candidates, saying around 30 per cent of the people will not be able to contest election now for "no fault" of theirs.
In the same vein, the Communist Party of India expressed concerns over the verdict upholding validity of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, which stipulates that one must have toilets at home to contest panchayat elections, contending people in rural areas lack space for toilets and the judgement will result in "squeezing" democracy.
"CPI disapproves SC verdict. There are numerous occasions when leaders with no qualification have come out with more meaningful suggestions in debates on various legislations. Also, the stipulation will deny around 30 per cent of our people from contesting for no fault of theirs," the party said in a statement.
On the verdict upholding that one must have toilet to contest polls, CPI said the apex court seemed unaware of the situation in rural India where people live in "congested" areas where there is no space "even for sleeping".
"How can they have functional toilets? Poverty has to be eliminated to have basic facilities. Ours is a welfare state and court must direct government to take up speedy schemes for eradication of illiteracy and provision of toilets for all within a time limit. The SC judgement will result in squeezing democracy," the party said.
A bench of justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre had on December 10 upheld the validity of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, saying only education gives people the power to discriminate between right and wrong and fixing educational qualification for panchayat poll aspirants in Haryana to ensure better administration was not irrelevant.
The SC had also upheld a law that aspirants must have toilets at home to contest panchayat polls and observed, "It is a notorious fact that the Indian population for a long time had this unhealthy practice of defecating in public."