Jaipur: Rajasthan High Court on Thursday turned down the petition filed by opposition parties and civil rights groups against panchayat ordinance brought in by state government that enacted minimum educational qualification mandatory for candidates contesting panchayat polls in the state.
While rejecting the petition , the court said while it appreciates some of the arguments made against the ordinance, the electoral process for panchayat elections had begun in Rajasthan and it cannot intervene at this stage.
The order comes as a setback for civil rights groups, opposition parties and thousands of people who were hopeful of contesting panchayat polls.
For sarpanchs, the ordinance 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.
The petitions said that 80 per cent of the Rajasthan rural electorate will not be able to contest the polls as they do not meet the norms and about 95 per cent women electorate will be similarly disqualified.
They also claimed that of the current block members, the ordinance will render ineligible around 3,800 of the 5,000 and similarly disqualify 550 of the 1,000 zila parishad members.
Earlier, the Supreme Court, too, had refused to entertain petitions challenging the ordinance.