Supreme Court upheld Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015

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Who: Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015
What: Upheld by the Supreme Court
When: 10 December 2015

The Supreme Court of India on 10 December 2015 upheld Haryana Government’s amendment to the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015. The Act mandates educational qualifications and other eligibility criteria for candidates who aspire to contest the rural local body elections.

A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre stated in their judgment that the object sought to be achieved cannot be said to be irrational or illegal or unconnected with the scheme and purpose of empowering the rural people through local self-government.

Earlier on 17 September 2015, the Supreme Court had also stayed the implementation of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015.

What the Act is all about?

The Act that was notified on 8 September 2015, just a day ahead of the nominations opened for the Panchayat polls, fixes matriculation as minimum educational qualification for elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

It fixed matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting the Panchayat elections while the women candidates of general category were prescribed a minimum qualification of middle standard or Class 8th.

On the other hand, men contesting in Scheduled Caste category were prescribed a minimum qualification of middle standard or class 8th while women in SC category were prescribed a minimum qualification of Class 5th.

The amendments also required that candidates should not have any dues in co-operative banks, electricity bills should be paid up and there should be a functional toilet at home.

With the passage of the Act, Haryana had become the second state after Rajasthan to pass such a law prescribing minimum educational qualification foe contesting PRI elections.