Education No Bar to Contest PR Polls: SC

Published: 18th September 2015 05:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2015 05:04 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the Haryana Government’s decision that a candidate aspiring to contest the panchayat elections should have cleared the Class X examination.

A Bench of Justice J Chelameswar stayed the operation of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, passed by the State Assembly on September 7, after the petition challenging the amended law was mentioned before the court.

While staying operation of the amended provision mandating educational qualifications for contesting local body’s elections, the court also issued notice to the Haryana government and the Election Commission, and sought their response in four weeks’ time.  Under the amended law, a person from the general category should have passed the Class 10 examinations and a Dalit should have passed class 8 to be eligible to contest the local body elections.

However, in case of a woman candidate belonging to the SC category contesting election for the post of Panch, the minimum qualification would be a Class V pass, the law says. Besides Haryana, Rajasthan too recently fixed the minimum educational qualification for elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions.

Communist Party of India-Marxist’s woman wing, The All India Democratic Women Association, Rajbala and others had filed the plea before the apex court. The court order came after senior counsel Sanjay Parikh and Kirti Singh appearing for the petitioners mentioned the matter before the court. Counsel for the petitioner said that 83 per cent of Dalit women and 71 per cent women in general and 56 per cent males would be excluded from contesting the panchayat polls by this law, which affected the fundamental rights of the candidates.

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