Updated: January 5, 2015 1:21:13 pm
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain petitions against Rajasthan government ordinance on prescribing minimum educational criteria for contesting panchayat polls.
A bench headed Chief Justice H L Dattu said that the high court was well equipped with adjudicating the legal questions involved and that the petitioners should first move the high court.
It gave petitioners, activist Aruna Roy and an incumbent woman sarpanch, to approach the high court with their grievances. It however refused to pass orders on changing the calender of the polls even as petitioners sought extension of the last date for filing nominations. The nominations are to be field by tomorrow.
Meanwhile Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the bench that at least six petitions were listed for heating in the high court on Monday.
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The ordinance has fixed Class VIII pass as the minimum qualification for contesting sarpanch elections and in scheduled areas Class V pass. For contesting zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls a candidate has to be Class X pass.
Civil society groups, former judges and bureaucrats, the Opposition Congress and affected rural populace have been protesting the move since the ordinance was passed in mid-December. The decision debars around 80 percent of the rural population in the state from contesting the election, according to civil society groups.
The model code of conduct for the upcoming panchayat polls has already been implemented and the elections are slated for January 16 and counting on February 5.
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