May 5, 2016 7:10:16 am
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has issued a notice to Rajasthan and Haryana governments over setting minimum educational qualification criteria for contesting panchayat polls. The notice was issued on April 27 and the commission sought a response from the state chief secretary within 15 days.
“(Acting on a complaint) the commission has decided to investigate into the matter in pursuance of powers conferred upon it under Article 338 of the Constitution,” the notice said.
In a press note issued Tuesday, the commission said the legislation by the two governments had “debarred a huge number of Scheduled Castes (people), especially SC women, from contesting Panchayat elections as the literacy rate of SC women is below (the average),” the note said.
“Thus (a) large number of grassroots women politicians now stand disqualified. These amendments also nullify the 73rd constitutional amendments which sought to include SCs and women among others in participatory local governments,” the commission said.
The Rajasthan and Haryana governments, through amendments to their respective state Panchayati Raj acts last year, had stipulated basic educational qualification criteria for all potential poll candidates, requiring candidates to have passed Class V to Class X, depending on the office they contest for.
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