Par panel irked over proxy attendance by women in panchayats

A Parliamentary panel has taken serious note of instances of some the panchayats being run by close relatives of elected women representatives and has recommended action against government officials who allow such practices.

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2010, 20:00 PM IST

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has taken
serious note of instances of some the panchayats being run by
close relatives of elected women representatives and has
recommended action against government officials who allow such
practices.

"There have been instances of some panchayats being run
by spouses or close relatives of the elected women
representatives," Standing Committee on Rural Development
noted in its report on a Bill seeking to give 50 per cent
reservation to women in panchayats.

"The Committee desires that as it has already been made
clear, if such proxy attendance takes place in the meetings of
the PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions), the concerned
government officers or secretaries who allow relatives to
attend instead of office bearers should be proceeded against
by the department," it added.

Ministry has received many complaints that spouses or
male relatives of the elected women representatives act as
de-facto Pradhans or Pramuks and interfere in the functioning
of PRIs.

Out of 28 lakh elected panchayat representatives in the
country, about 10 lakh are estimated to be women. The number
of elected women representatives is higher than the 33 percent
seats reserved for them in the PRIs.

The committee noted in its report, tabled in Lok Sabha
recently, that the ministry of Panchayati Raj issued
communications to different states and Union Territories in
January and in February this year in order to deter such
"unconstitutional practices".

The Committee, headed by Sumitra Mahajan, hoped that
the state governments concerned would take the issue of "proxy
attendance" seriously and take effective steps to prevent it.

PTI