The Punjab government's instructions issued on May 2, directing the deputy commissioners that the 2008 roster for the post of sarpanches be made the basis of reservation of seats for sarpanches in the 2013 elections, have been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Taking up two such petitions, the vacation bench comprising justices Rakesh Kumar Jain and Paramjeet Singh issued notice of motion to the state government and the Hoshiarpur deputy commissioner to file replies by June 18.
The petitioners informed the court that earlier, reservation for posts of sarpanches was being made on the basis of the 1998 roster that came into being after notification of relevant rules for reservation and rotation of sarpanches in 1994.
The court was informed that as per reservation rules of 1994, the reservation for sarpanch's seat has to be first for scheduled castes (SC) category (men), followed by SC category women in the next elections, then for 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.
Kamaljit Kumar of Kittna village submitted that during the election to the gram panchayat held in 1998, the sarapanch's seat was reserved for SC (men), in 2003 it was given to general category (women), in 2008 for general category (men) candidate. Now for 2013, this seat has been kept for general category and till now no reservation of seat had been made for women of the SC category.
The second petitioner, Sukhwinder Singh of Nangal Thathal village also made similar submissions that till date there had been no reservation for SC category women for the sarpanch's post.