Rajasthan cabinet scraps education criteria for civic poll candidates

Prelims level : Mains level :
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Why in News?

  • The new Government of Rajasthan has abolished the condition of a minimum educational qualification to contest local body elections.
  • The cabinet also decided on holding the election of mayors and chairmans in corporations through the direct system instead of the indirect method introduced by the previous government.

Criteria’s for contesting in local polls:

  • As per the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Amendment Bill 2015, Candidates were:
  • Required to have passed Class X for contesting municipal elections, Class VIII for contesting panchayat polls for the post of a sarpanch, and Class X for contesting Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti elections
  • Construction of toilets in their homes as mandatory for contesting polls to the panchayati raj institutions in the state

Supreme Court on Educational Qualification for contesting Polls:

  • Even Haryana had passed a similar law mandating minimum education qualification for those contesting in Panchayat Raj Institutions.
  • The constitutional validity of this law of Haryana was questioned in the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court had upheld the constitutional validity of the law enacted by Haryana government to bar the illiterate from contesting panchayat polls in the state.
  • The Supreme Court had ruled that “it is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad”.
  • The Supreme Court had even made it clear that it would be valid for the legislature to disqualify a candidate from seeking election to a civic body if he or she lacks “basic norms of hygiene” by not having a functional toilet at home.
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