Civic poll contestants must be Class XII pass
Emboldened by the SC decision to enforce minimum educational qualifications for Haryana's Panchayat polls, the Manohar Lal Khattar government now aims to introduce a minimum class XII qualification requirement in civic polls. The recommendation to do so came from Haryana's Advocate General's office. The AG said that after approval from the state cabinet, an ordinance would be passed to amend the election rules.
Haryana Assembly passed Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which fixed matriculation as the minimum educational qualification to contest for Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) Class VIII mark sheet was the requirement for women and schedule caste candidates. Moreover, the candidates require to have paid their power bills and have a functioning toilet at their house. The candidates also shouldn't be loan defaulters.
Three women from Haryana questioned vociferously the educational qualification law which fixed "10th pass for men, 8th pass for women and 5th pass for dalits" in the Supreme Court. They said that this law would disqualify 83.06% of women in rural Haryana who are illiterate. Moreover, due to the agrarian crisis many families have not paid power bills and have defaulted on loans.
Panchayat elections in Haryana were scheduled to be held in three phases on October 4, 11 and 18 with approximately 72,000 posts to be contested.
The Supreme Court stayed the law passed in Haryana establishing compulsory educational qualifications for nominees contending in the panchayat elections. A bench led by Justice J Chelameswar sojourned the execution of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015. SC was of the view that this law would deprive people at the grass-root level from taking part in the functioning of the state.
The Supreme Court contended that Haryana's demand of 'minimum educational qualifications' for panchayat poll candidates infringed the right to equality SC said this while giving the state the alternative of reversing its notification. The bench of Justices J. Chelameshwar and A.M. Sapre said that the law would directly hit 50% of the people who will not be able to contest.
The Panchayat elections in Haryana were deferred as Haryana government refused to drop the minimum education criteria. This inability to drop the law made SC halt elections till it decides on the validity of the law. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that Haryana government wanted the matter to be resolved by the court as they did not want to have a divided house.
The Supreme Court gave its blessing to the validity of amendments in the Haryana rule which determines minimum educational qualification criteria for candidates battling in panchayat polls. A bench consisting of Justices J Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre dismissed the writ against the amendment. The candidates need to have passed class-X, women and scheduled caste(SC) candidates need class-VIII and SC women require education till class-V.