The Haryana cabinet on Tuesday decided to fix passing matriculation as the minimum qualification required for contesting municipal elections in the state.
Gurgaon councillors have welcomed the state government’s decision albeit with a rider. The councillors demanded that the rule should be applicable to those contesting the assembly elections as well.
“There is no doubt that education should be a precondition for contesting elections, but the same should apply at all levels of polls, including assembly elections,” Nisha Singh, an MCG councillor from ward 30 and a graduate from London Business School, said.
Gurgaon is scheduled to hold municipal elections for all 35 wards sometime in May when the term of the current municipal body terminates.
The cabinet that met under the chairmanship of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar decided to amend Section 13 A of the Haryana Municipal Act, 1973, and Section 8 of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, laying down qualifications for contesting the elections to urban civic bodies. An ordinance to this effect will be promulgated by the governor.
Councillor Sunder Singh, who has passed class 12, said that the new rule would serve as a dampener for those uneducated with an established vote bank among the masses. But Singh is of the opinion that at times an uneducated person serves better as an elected representative.
“Though the move is being welcomed, there should be no hard and fast rules. Some of our best representatives did not have good educational qualifications,” he said.
As per the proposed amendment, people, who have been charged with grave criminal offences that have a punishment of not less than 10 years imprisonment , will be debarred from contesting polls till they are acquitted. This decision has also gone down very well with the councillors of the city, who think this will enhance the efficiency and credibility of the municipal corporation.
“There should be a strict entry barriers for people, who have been charged with criminal offences. This is important for a healthy democracy,” Vimal Yadav, the mayor of MCG, said.