Jaipur: With Rajasthan High Court refusing to immediately interfere with a state government ordinance fixing educational qualifications for candidates in Panchayat elections, the petitioners on Thursday said they will file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court seeking justice.
"Today's high court order that it cannot intervene in the election process is misleading and literally deceitful as 95 per cent women in villages could not file nominations due to educational barrier," two women sarpanches Kamla Devi (Tilonia village) and Norti Bai (Harmara village), who are also litigants in the case, said at a joint press conference here.
They said they will soon file the SLP in Supreme Court to seek justice against the Rajasthan High Court order, along with other petitioners.
Norti, who has been active in the Panchayti Raj system since 1981 and has made representations in foreign countries, said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had launched "Bhamashah Yojna Card" for the poor and villagers from her Ajmer district last year, but suddenly she (Raje) issued the ordinance "killing the interests of women candidates".
Norti, who does not have school education, claims to operate computer, printer and fax machine.
Noted activist Nikhil Dey, the founder of NGO Majdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), said 80 per cent people in villages and 95 per cent women could not contest the Panchayat polls due to the educational barrier.
"The BJP government's ordinance is undemocratic as no consultation was done at any level of state Assembly or at judicial level before passing it. The high court has also given negative comments on the ordinance and the state government's working but the judiciary has done nothing expeditiously," Dey said.
Led by activist Aruna Roy, MKSS which has also filed a petition in the Rajasthan High Court's Jodhpur bench would file the SLP in Supreme Court on this matter.
Earlier in the day, the high court bench headed by Chief Justice Sunil Ambawani refused to immediately interfere with the ordinance, saying once the election process has?commenced it would not be fit for the court to interfere in the process which is otherwise a constitutional mandate.
For sarpanchs, the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 fixed class VIII as the minimum qualification and in scheduled areas it is Class V. For contesting zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls, the education qualification is Class X pass.