Taking strong exception to politicians disowning or lying about their families to retain power, the Bombay high court, last week, upheld the criminal prosecution of Sangita Gurule for forging records of her third girl child so that she could contest the Khopadi Grampanchayat elections in Nashik in 2010.
While imposing a fine of Rs5,000 on Gurule, who was elected a member after winning the elections, justice SC Dharmadhikari observed, “It is unfortunate that when a child is disowned in such a manner, for petty power politics, parents forget their child’s future becomes bleak and uncertain.”
According to assistant government pleader RM Patne, under the Bombay Village Panchayat Act, a candidate is ineligible to contest panchayat polls if he/she has more than two children after the statutory cut-off date of September 13, 2001.
Gurule had won the elections by forging documents of her third child, Roshni, who was born after the cut-off date. Gurule had won the elections by forging documents of her third child, Roshni, which showed her date of birth as April 22, 2001, instead of December 22, 2001. Gurule also produced a certificate issued by the Grampanchayat to support her claim.
After being disqualified, Gurule approached the court in 2011, seeking to quash the proceedings initiated against her by the additional collector and upper divisional commissioner of Nashik, who said they believed the child was born in December based on the record in the registers of the a clinic offering health services offered to pregnant mothers under a scheme initiated by the village panchayat, the Integrated Child Development Scheme and Roshni’s school records.
“It will be difficult for the child to survive in today’s world if her paternity is in doubt and that too, by her own parents. Thus, she is an innocent victim in their power game,” justice Dharmadhikari further observed.