Haryana announces panchayat polls after SC clearance

The dates were announced following the Supreme Court`s decision last week upholding the Haryana Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015.

Chandigarh: The Haryana State Election Commission on Tuesday announced the schedule for the panchayat polls in the state.

The dates were announced following the Supreme Court`s decision last week upholding the Haryana Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015.

State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said the panchayat polls will be held in three phases -- January 10, 17 and 24 next year.

He said the model code of conduct has come into force in the area of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) where the polls will be conducted.

"The election process would be completed by February 15, 2016," Sharma said here.

He said that as the Supreme Court has upheld the new Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, elections to the PRIs would be held as per the new Act.

There are a total of 6,198 gram panchayats, 126 panchayat samitis and 21 zila parishads in the state.

Elections would be conducted for 416 members of 21 zila parishads, 3,001 posts of 126 panchayat samitis, and 6,198 posts and 62,492 posts of sarpanches and panches.

The Supreme Court last week upheld an amendment to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act providing for educational qualifications and other eligibility criteria, including a functional toilet at home.

The apex court bench, headed by Justice J Chelameswar, dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Haryana law.

The Haryana assembly had passed a bill in September making it mandatory for contesting candidates to possess minimum educational qualifications and also ensure that they have a functional toilet at home.

Under the new law, contesting candidates will require a minimum qualification of matriculation (Class 10).

Scheduled Caste and women candidates will require middle pass (Class 8) qualification and women candidates from the Scheduled Caste category will have to be at least class 5 pass.

The candidates also have to ensure that they do not have any criminal charges against them, have not defaulted on loans from cooperative banks and have paid their electricity bills.

Over 1.1 crore voters, including 5,104,621 women, are eligible to vote.

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