No Panchayat Elections in Haryana, SC defers

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New Delhi:  Panchayat elections in Haryana cannot be held till the Supreme Court decides the validity of a law that set mandatory educational qualifications and other criteria for candidates, the top court said today.Fixing a minimum educational qualification to contest the elections would “straightaway” debar 50 per cent Indians the Supreme Court had said yesterday.

According to the law passed on September 7 by the state assembly, while general candidates must have passed class 10 examinations, women and Dalit candidates are required to have cleared class 8 to contest the Panchayat polls.Candidates should also not have a criminal conviction, no pending electricity bills or loan payments and a working toilet, the law had said.But the petition against the law said that it made most of the candidates in the state ineligible and is against the constitution.

The Haryana state election commission too has told court that it cannot hold polls till court decides the validity of the law. Defending the law, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court on Friday that if it doesn’t vacate a stay on the law, then polls that start from October 4 will be cancelled.He had argued that though the court has not stayed the elections, but the stay had implied that polls can’t be held.

Panchayat elections in Haryana are scheduled to be held in three phases on October 4, 11 and 18 this year.  More than 1.10 crore voters are eligible to vote in the elections.More than 72,000 posts of panchayat members, panchayat samitis and zila parishads will be up for vote, nominations for which opened on September 15.

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