Qualification for panchayat poll: SC to hear Haryana plea on Monday

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on September 21 a plea by the Haryana government seeking revocation of order putting on hold the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, that says a candidate aspiring to contest local bodies elections should have cleared Class 10.

The bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre agreed to hear the Haryana government’s plea as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that stay on the educational qualification by the court was coming in the way of holding the elections as scrutiny of the nomination papers would take place on Monday.

Attorney General Rohatgi told the court that staying the provision of educational qualification virtually amounted to bringing the election process to a halt.

He said similar educational provision for contesting panchayat elections was incorporated in Rajasthan and the apex court had refused to interfere with it.

Under the amended law, a person from the general category, aspiring to contest panchayat election, should have passed at least Class 10, and those belonging to the Dalit community should have passed Class 8.

The apex court on Thursday suspended the operation of the amended Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 2015, that was passed by the state assembly on September 7, after the petition challenging the amended law was mentioned before the court.

The court also issued notice to the Haryana government and the Election Commission.

The court was moved by CPI-M-affiliated All India Democratic Women’s Association, a petitioner named Rajbala and others.

The court order had come after counsel Sanjay Parikh and Kirti Singh, appearing for the petitioners, mentioned the matter before the court.

The petitioners’ lawyers told the court that 83 percent of Dalit women, 71 percent of women in the general category and overall 56 percent men would stand excluded from contesting panchayat elections if the provision mandating educational qualification was not suspended.

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