‘Pradhanpatis’ using wives as rubber stamps will frustrate aim of women empowerment: Allahabad HC
The Allahabad High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by the husband of a woman village head, criticising the practice of husbands acting as proxies for elected women pradhans. The court imposed a cost of ₹5,000 each on the couple and stated that such interference undermines women empowerment and the objective of providing reservation for women in politics. The court also directed the State Election Commission to issue a circular cautioning candidates about their powers and duties as village representatives.
While depreciating the practice of use of word ‘Pradhanpati (husbands trying to act as the proxy for elected women pradhans or village heads)’, the Allahabad high court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition sworn by the husband of a woman village head on behalf of his wife.
The court also imposed a cost of ₹5,000 each on both of them and observed that the husband of the woman village head had no business to interfere with the working of ‘Gaon Sabha’.
“If such act is permitted it will not only frustrate objective of women empowerment but also object of providing specific reservation to women to come forward and join mainstream of politics and increase their participation in social, economic and cultural growth of nation,” the court observed.
Dismissing a writ petition filed by Gaon Sabha of a village of Bijnor district, Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery observed, “The term “Pradhanpati” is a very popular and widely used term in state of Uttar Pradesh. It is used for “the Husband” of a woman Pradhan. Despite being an unauthorized authority, “Pradhanpati” unauthorisedly, usually undertakes work of a woman Pradhan, i.e., his wife.”
“There are many instances where a woman Pradhan only acts like a rubber stamp and for all practical purposes, all major decisions are taken by so called “Pradhanpati”, and elected representative just acts like mute spectator. The present writ petition is a glaring example of such a situation,” the court said.
The writ petition was filed by Gaon Sabha, Madpuri village, pargana Barapur, tehsil Nagina, district Bijnor through its pradhan Karmjeet Kaur. The writ petition was not accompanied by any resolution in favour of elected pradhan authorising her husband to file the writ petition but the affidavit enclosed with the writ petition was sworn the pradhan’s husband Sukhdev Singh.
“The court is aware that there are women Pradhans in the state of Uttar Pradesh, who are exercising their power, rights and duties and legal obligations effectively and are doing very good work for village concerned. However, the present case does not appear to be such,” the court said.
The court directed that a copy of the order shall also be sent to State Election Commission (SEC) so that it may consider to issue a circular for all candidates for future elections, cautioning them to be careful in exercising their powers, functions and duties as a village representative.