After panchayats, Haryana proposes qualifications for municipal polls

Chandigarh, Dec 29 (IANS) After including educational qualifications and other criteria for panchayat elections, the Haryana government on Tuesday announced that it will amend the state’s Municipal Corporation Act to lay down some qualifications for contesting polls to urban local bodies.

“Haryana Government has decided to amend section 13A of the Haryana Municipal Act, 1973, and section 8 of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, laying down some qualifications for contesting the elections to urban local bodies,” a state government spokesman said here.

Like in case of panchayats, matriculation (class 10) has been proposed as the minimum qualification.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the state cabinet which met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

As per the amendment, all those against whom charges have been framed by the competent court for grave criminal offences punishable by not less than 10 years imprisonment will be debarred from contesting the elections till they are acquitted.

“Defaulters of co-operative loans and defaulters of arrears of electricity bills will also be debarred from contesting elections. Apart from this, qualification has been prescribed as matriculation pass for all levels of the elected representatives of the urban local bodies,” it added.

“As a step towards affirmative action for ensuring that women and scheduled caste voters are not placed in an extremely disadvantageous position, a minimum educational qualification for women and scheduled caste candidates has been fixed as middle class (class 8) and for scheduled caste women candidates as class 5.

“Besides, all the candidates contesting the elections have to file a declaration that they have the provision of a functional toilet at the residence”, says the proposed amendment.

Candidates who have been convicted by the courts will be disqualified from contesting the municipal elections.

A similar amendment of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) Act by the Haryana government, under which educational qualifications and other eligibility criteria was made mandatory on candidates contesting elections for panchayati institutions, was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

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