Taking up a public interest litigation seeking transparency in reservation and rotation of the sarpanch's post in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday issued notices to the Punjab government, Punjab state election commission, Hoshiarpur deputy commissioner and Garhshankar MLA Surinder Singh Bhulewal.
The notices were issued on a petition filed by Hoshiarpur resident Parvinder Singh Kittna. The petitioner has alleged that in the absence of specification of any criteria in the Panchayati Raj Act or any other rule for reservation and rotation of seats for the office of sarpanch, the deputy commissioners concerned were misusing their powers. It was alleged that the DCs, at their whims, were declaring various seats of sarpanch reserved or otherwise.
It has also been submitted that under the influence of politicians, the DCs concerned were deliberately not issuing a notification for specifying the seat of sarpanch as reserved or otherwise and intended to do so only at the last minute before the issuance of a notification by the state election commission for initiating the process for the general elections.
Citing an example, the petitioner said the seat of sarpanch for Kittna village in Hoshiarpur district had been kept reserved for general category (women) in the 2003 and 2008 elections to help a particular woman (Baljit Kaur), and now, under the influence of MLA Surinder Singh Bhulewal, the DC intended to reserve the seat for general category (men) to enable Baljit's husband to contest the sarpanch's election.
The case would now come up for hearing on May 16.