Refusing to interfere with the ongoing village panchayat election process in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed around 90 petitions challenging reservation and rotation of seats for sarpanches.
However, the court granted liberty to the petitioners to file the petitions after the election process is over.
Elections to 13,080 panchayats of Punjab will be held as per schedule on July 3.
The vacation bench comprising justices SK Mittal and Rekha Mittal said that since the election process had already started and even nominations had been closed, it would not be appropriate to entertain the petitions at the moment. The court said the petitions were dismissed as withdrawn with the liberty to the petitioners to avail the remedy as per law after completion of the elections.
When the counsels appearing for a number of petitioners requested the court to adjourn the petitions for a date after the elections, the court refused to accept the request.
The bunch of petitions included a number of such petitions that had challenged reservation of the post of sarpanch for the scheduled caste candidate in villages having even 90% of the population from the general category and vice-versa.
Also, there were petitions that had challenged the state government's instructions issued on May 2, directing the deputy commissioners that the 2008 roster for the post of sarpanches should be made the basis for reservation of seats for sarpanches in the 2013 elections.
The court was informed that as per the reservation rules of 1994, the reservation for sarpanch's seat has to be first for the scheduled caste (SC) category (men), followed by SC category women in the next elections, then for the general category (women) during the next elections, and thereafter for the general category (men). However, these rules were being violated by the government through the May 2 instructions, it was alleged.