Ashish Malik is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
THE HINDU DAILY Editorials Analysis by 8H NI, Ashish Malik ; THEHINDU killed in January 1, 2019
Topics in Focus "Rajasthan removed educational criteria for 1QCal.nolls',
Rajasthan removed educational criteria for ocal polls" Why in News? This is a progressive move and will restore the right to contest Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act passed in 2015, educational prerequisites to stand for local polls . It was made mandatory for candidates contesting for the post of sarpanch to have cleared Class 8, and for those in the fray in zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections to have passed Class 10.
Criticisnm The move was ill-considered from the very beginning. At the time, the amendment was seen as a bid by the then BJP government to lower the average age of those in the fray based on the assumption that its voters tended to be younger It defeated the very purpose of the panchayati raj institutions, to include citizens in multi-tier local governance from all sections of society. These requirements had the effect of excluding the marginalised
Haryana's case . The Rajasthan government's decision should also force a rethink in Haryana, where the newly sworn-in BJP government had, also in 2015, legislated a series of eligibility requirements for panchayat elections, including education levels and a functional toilet in the candidate's home. The Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 was upheld that year by the Supreme Court in Rajbala v. State of Haryana.
Any positive side? . Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, for instance, has previously spoken of persuading other Chief Ministers to take the cue from Rajasthan and Haryana, as an incentive for women to study.
Impact of New Decision * The decision of the new Congress government in Rajasthan should force a recasting of the debate on finding ways and means by which elected bodies are made more representative. . In a liberal democracy, governments must desist from putting bars on who may contest, except in exceptional circumstances, such as when a candidate is in breach of particular laws.