6 July 2023 12:13 PM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, refused to entertain a plea which alleged that women reservation in Panchayats was being misused as husbands were running the village panchayats through proxies after their wives win from reserved seats .Article 243D(3) envisages reservation of not less than ⅓ seats in the Panchayat for women. The petition filed through Advocate-on-Record, Swati Jindal,...
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, refused to entertain a plea which alleged that women reservation in Panchayats was being misused as husbands were running the village panchayats through proxies after their wives win from reserved seats .
Article 243D(3) envisages reservation of not less than ⅓ seats in the Panchayat for women. The petition filed through Advocate-on-Record, Swati Jindal, alleges that though the reservation has been implemented, in reality it is functioning through a proxy model, wherein the spouses of these elected women are operating the Panchayats. In view of the same, the petition sought the indulgence of the Apex Court to set up a Committee to conduct research and provide solutions to curb the misuse.
Though not inclined to issue notice in the petition, the Bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia asked the petitioner, Mundona Rural Development Foundation, to make representation to the concerned Ministry of Panchayati Raj to see if a better mechanism can be implemented to further the object of reservation. The Bench was of the firm opinion that it is not within the domain of the Apex Court to resolve the issue raised in the present petition.
“It is for the respondent Ministry of Panchayats Raj to look into it to see if there is a better mechanism to implement the object of reservation. Thus the petitioner may make representation to the concerned Ministry.”
At the outset, Jindal submitted that the present Public Interest Litigation was instituted on the 30th Anniversary of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution. She said that the reservation has been implemented only in letter, but not in spirit.
“Vide the amendment a golden opportunity was given to all women to ensure that they have adequate representation at the grass-root level. It has been seen that the letter is there but spirit is lacking”, she submitted.
Justice Kaul reckoned, “How do we judicially create the spirit?”
Jindal responded, “We are seeking for a composition of a committee.”
Justice Kaul indicated that the nature of issue raised is such that it cannot be resolved invoking judicial powers. “We are not an executive authority. We can only examine the legality of it”, the Judge said. He added, “How do you prohibit the spouses from running (the show)...? It is an evolutionary process. A lot of time has passed. You are saying empower women more...This was a methodology of empowerment of women…”
Justice Kaul also noted that it would not be possible to preclude a section of the women from contesting election merely because they are willing to lend their shoulders to this scenario.
[Case Title: Mundona Rural Development Foundation v. UoI WP(C) No. 615/2023]
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