Rajasthan High Court: In a matter brought before the Court by the petitioners who are aggrieved with the promulgation of an Ordinance by the Governor of the State of Rajasthan, which mandates educational qualification to represent the post of Sarpanchs, members of Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishads, a bench comprising of Prakash Gupta J. and Sunil Ambwani (Acting CJ.) rejected all the stay applications against the impugned Ordinance and refrained to interfere in the matter of elections once the election process has started.

In the instant case, Indira Jai Singh, the learned Counsel for the petitioners prayed for an appropriate order or direction to stay the effect of an Ordinance promulgated by the Governor of the State of Rajasthan, which amends Section 19 of the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act, 1994 and mandates minimum qualification of class 12th ,  5th and 8th passed for member of Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti, Sarpanch of a Panchayat in a Scheduled Area and Sarpanch of a Panchayat other than in a Scheduled Area respectively. The Counsel contended that the State of Rajasthan has acted in colourable exercise of powers with an oblique purpose to disqualify and to exclude a large section of population living in rural areas from the election process. The Counsel further pleaded to grant interim protection to save the rights of thousands of persons who did not had an opportunity of formal education in the State of Rajasthan.

N.M. Lodha, learned Advocate General for the respondent, contended that the powers of the Governor to promulgate an Ordinance during the recess of Legislature under Article 213 of the Constitution cannot be subjected to judicial review. The Court noted that “prescription of educational qualification for contesting elections in any democratic institution, unless there is strong nexus with the object, to be achieved, is an anti-thesis to the democratic governance of the institution in a republic. It is a negation of the very object of purpose of enacting the Constitution of India, described in its preamble”. The Court relied on the contention of R.B. Mathur, the learned counsel for the Rajasthan State Election Commission and refrained itself from interfering in the matter of election as “any interim order at this stage causing interference in the process of elections for constituting Panchayats, will lead to chaos and confusion, and will create a crisis for the Rajasthan State Election Commission in holding elections”. The Court rejected all the stay applications against the Ordinance and directed the parties to produce empirical data before the Court to prove their grounds for/against the effect of the Ordinance. Dulari Devi v. State of Rajasthan, 2015 SCC OnLine Raj 121, decided on 15-01-2015.


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One comment

  • When will Judiciary come out of Conservative Interpretation of the Constitution of India. Without education Legislators,Executives& Judges cannot deliver the needs of the public at large & to each one of them.

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