Mumbai: Observing that there is a
growing tendency among people to tell lies and falsify records
to retain power, the Bombay High Court has dismissed a
petition filed by a gram panchayat member who suppressed the
birth of her third child to contest local polls.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Sangita
Gurule of Khopadi village in Nasik challenging an order of the
Additional Collector who disqualified her on the ground of
having more than two children and giving a false statement in
the nomination form that her third child was born after the
cut off date.
"The craving for power has increased to such an extent
that persons like the petitioner disown their family and
children. It is unfortunate that when the child is disowned in
such a manner for petty power politics that the parents forget
that their girl child’s future becomes bleak and uncertain,"
observed Justice SC Dharmadhikari.
"It will be difficult for her (the child) to survive
in today`s world if her paternity is doubted and that too by
her own parents. Thus, she is a innocent victim in their power
game", the judge remarked.
The court also upheld the decision of the authorities
to initiate criminal prosecution against the petitioner and
guilty officials for allegedly falsifying officials records.
The petitioner was declared elected as gram panchayat
member along with nine others in 2010 for a five year term.
However, a rival candidate challenged Sangita`s election
alleging that she had given false date of birth of her
daughter and suppressed information about her third child at
the time of filing nomination.
The respondent relied upon a certificate of head
mistress of Zilla Parishad primary school.
The petitioner, however, contended that she had not
supressed any information pertaining to her family. She
admitted that she had three children but denied that the third
one was born on December 22, 2001, prior to the cut off date.
She relied upon a certificate given by Gram Panchayat
evidencing her daughter`s birth date as April 22, 2001.
However, the respondent alleged that Sangita had
colluded with authorities, particularly the Gramsevak, in
preparing false record. The Collector, too, had taken a
serious view of this and directed that criminal proceeding be
initiated against the petitioner and the Gramsevak.
The court, however, upheld the decision of the
Additional Collector and the Commissioner who opined that the
third child of Sangita was born on December 22, 2001 and not
on April 22, 2001 as contended by the petitioner.
The two officers relied upon a register known as "Mata
Seva Nond Vahi", a register maintained at the village level to
give health services to pregnant mothers. The duo also relied
upon a register related to Integrated Child Development Scheme
which stated that the child was born on December 22, 2001.
The officers had also concluded that the certificate
of Gramsevak could not believed because upon being summoned
he attended the hearing and made a statement that he had not
granted any certificate or made any endoresement recording
the date of birth of Sangita`s third child as April 22, 2001.
The court held that the rural health schemes
implemented by the government with the aid of such officials,
as also the records maintained by them, definitely have
evidentiary value and cannot be disputed.
The court justified the decision of the Collector to
direct prosecution against the petitioner and guilty officials
and directed that the action may be expedited. The judge also
imposed Rs 5000 cost on the petitioner.