28 October, 2020

A Bad Matric

Haryana’s move for ‘qualified’ panchayat members smacks of elitism

A Bad Matric

Haryana chief minister M.L. Khattar has come out with a most undemocratic and unconstitutional legislation. The changes in the Haryana Panchayat Act seek to mandate that male candidates contesting the coming panchayat and zila parishad elections produce their Class X certificates while women and Scheduled Caste candidates will need a Class VIII certificate to be eligible.

In an unashamed defence of this most undemocratic step, the government has put forth the inane explanation that this would “improve quality of leadership and governance” at the grassroots level, and that “this amendment would make elected representatives of pan­ch­ayat raj institutions more acc­oun­table”. The CM is so sold on this wisdom that he wants to do it through the ordinance route, thus avoiding the normal legislative step of full discussion in the assembly. Is it any wonder then that the opp­osition calls the action “Tughl­aki”—a reference to the late king Tug­h­laq and his ill-advised actions.

This so-called...



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