New law renders 50% ineligible to contest

New law renders 50% ineligible to contest

By ARVIND CHHABRA | Chandigarh | 12 December, 2015
Haryana's Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

With the Supreme Court upholding the conditions for contesting panchayat elections imposed by the Haryana government as valid, more than half of the otherwise eligible persons in the state would be rendered ineligible to contest. Under the new law, anyone aspiring to contest panchayat elections in Haryana must be a matriculate, face no criminal charges, must have cleared dues of electricity and cooperative societies, and have a functional toilet at home. With these conditions imposed for the first time, the state was in the process of holding the elections in October when the Supreme Court stayed it as a petition was filed before it. The National Population Register 2011 points out that Haryana has a rural population of 1.65 crore out of which 96 lakh are above the age of 20 years (minimum age to contest panchayat polls is 21 years). But 36 lakh of these are illiterate, while another five lakh didn’t go beyond the primary level. they hence cannot run for election. How many of these have matriculation or just middle is not known, but the figure is estimated to be much less than 50%. The opposition parties have described the move as “undemocratic.” But Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hailed the verdict as a “historic day for democracy in India”. 

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