The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.

Supreme Court

The State Election Commission on Thursday said it will soon set in motion the process for conduct of panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.”We will send a proposal to the state government immediately after we get the operative part of the Supreme Court judgement. “After getting the nod from the government, the process of holding the (panchayat) polls, which had been put on hold in view of the apex court hearing the petition, will be set in motion once again,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said over telephone. The Model Code of Conduct was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of the educational qualifications for the candidates contesting panchayat polls in Haryana.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. As the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the SEC had decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission’s notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently, Sharma said.The Commission had on September 8 issued the programme for the conduct of elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. According to the programme, the panchayat polls were to be conducted in three phases – October 4, 11 and 18. Meanwhile, ruling BJP in the state has hailed the Supreme Court verdict.”The Supreme Court verdict on the panchayat poll issue has proved that Haryana Government’s thought and direction of work are correct,” State Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted. When asked to comment on the judgement, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I am yet to go through the verdict. I don’t know on what ground the writ petition has been dismissed.” Hooda had earlier said that before fixing minimum educational criteria for contestants of panchayat polls, the BJP government in the state and at the Centre should do the same for MPs and MLAs. State’s principal opposition party INLD, which had slammed the Khattar government alleging that it showed haste in fixing the education criteria, today said their views remain the same.”Everyone has to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, but our reservation was with the government. The BJP government should not have shown hurry in fixing minimum qualification criteria as it will debar nearly 70 per cent candidates from contesting. “The government should have first sought people’s view on this before moving ahead,” party’s state unit president Ashok Arora said.However, 33-year-old Sunil Jaglan, the man behind ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign and the Sarpanch of village Bibipur, termed it as a “historic” verdict. “It’s a historic verdict. Having educated elected representatives at the grassroot level of our system means that communication gap between government and public will be bridged. “Educated sarpanches will not be at the mercy of bureaucrats and effectively implement government schemes,” Jaglan said.

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Haryana: SC upholds minimum qualification criterion for Panchayat polls; EC starts preparation for elections