Mehsana stays suspension of Dalit woman sarpanch

Solanki has challenged her suspension before the Appeal Committee of the Mehsana district panchayat.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: October 3, 2013 3:45:35 am

Mehsana district administration has stayed implementation of a no-confidence motion moved against a Dalit woman sarpanch of Chadasana village of Becharaji taluka,while holding that the gram panchayat did not follow prescribed rules to suspend the sarpanch.

Chadasana is a Samras Gram Panchayat where the villagers adopt selection method to form gram panchayat instead of election. And the woman sarpanch has alleged caste-based discrimination against her by majority upper caste members of the panchayat.

The Dalit woman sarpanch has been identified as Santok Solanki. According to the details,Solanki was selected as the sarpanch of the village in December 2011 under the Samras Yojna of the Gujarat government where instead of electing,villagers select the sarpanch and other members of the gram panchayat. And in turn,the panchayat gets special benefits from the state government. The seat of sarpanch was reserved for the Scheduled Caste as per the roster of the state government then.

The all women panchayat of Chadasana consists of six members apart from the sarpanch. Apart from Solanki and one other Dalit woman,rest of the members are belonging to “upper castes”.

According to Solanki,she did a number of developmental works in the village and her opponents did not like that. And so,she alleged that they started discriminating her on the basis of her caste and ultimately moved a no-confidence motion in August this year. Before that,Solanki had made representations to various authorities seeking help against the discrimination she was being subjected to.

In August,the gram panchayat moved the no-confidence motion against Solanki. And based on the motion,the panchayat passed a resolution suspending Solanki as sarpanch,while handing over charge to the deputy sarpanch.

Solanki has challenged her suspension before the Appeal Committee of the Mehsana district panchayat. She has contended that the panchayat had not given her any hearing at all in spite of the fact that she had submitted written submissions. She has also taken a ground that the panchayat did not follow the rules of voting prescribed under the Panchayat Rules,while registering the votes on the no-confidence motion.

Last month,chairman of Appeal Committee of Mehsana district panchayat,J L Patel,stayed the implementation of the suspension order passed by the Chadasana Gram Panchayat against Solanki. In his order,Patel has observed that prima facie it appears that the voting procedure did not take place as per the rules. He has also observed that it was necessary for the panchayat to give Solanki hearing before passing the impugned resolution of suspending her.

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