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2-child rule angers civic guardians

The cabinet's decision to disqualify urban municipal body elected representatives who have more than two children, has come in for severe criticism with the Congress seeking the intervention of the state election commission.

By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Ranchi
  • Published 26.10.17
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RMC councillors hand over a memorandum to election commissioner NN Pandey on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Ranchi: The cabinet's decision to disqualify urban municipal body elected representatives who have more than two children, has come in for severe criticism with the Congress seeking the intervention of the state election commission.

A group of Congress-backed elected representatives of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) led by the party's state unit general secretary, Alok Kumar Dubey, called on state election commissioner N.N. Pandey on Wednesday and asked him to step in.

In a memorandum to Pandey, the group argued that election of municipal councillors and ward commissioners ought to be in tune with norms prescribed by the Constitution (seventy fourth amendment) Act of 1992 and that the basic qualifications to contest these elections would be the same as those applicable to MLAs and MPs.

Hence, the proposed amendment in clauses 18(M) and (N) of Jharkhand Municipal Bodies Act was unconstitutional, the group argued.

Pointing out that such a rule was not applicable in case of Zila Parishad members and that no other state had enacted it, the elected representatives alleged that the primary objective of the state government was to deprive a particular section of society from contesting municipal elections.

"Why such a law has not been made mandatory in case of MLAs and MPs? Why only municipal councillors have been made scapegoats? We are not going to sit idle. We will raise the issue everywhere, in public campaigns and in the Assembly and Parliament," Dubey told The Telegraph.

As of now, he added, they would wait for some time since the state election commissioner had promised to look into their demand.

Dhanbad mayor Shekhar Agrawal, who is actively involved with the BJP, also expressed strong reservations.

"Making new laws is the job of a government. The provision to disqualify elected representatives with more than two surviving children was already there in the Jharkhand Municipal Bodies Act. But, there was no cut-off date (January 30, 2013). Hence it was not effective," he said.

Agrawal said that since the cabinet fixed a cut-off date on Tuesday, why was it not applicable for MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives. "The state government should treat us as equals," he said.

RMC ward commissioner (37) Ashok Baraik, however, welcomed the move arguing that it was a bold step initiated by the state government aimed at population control. But he agreed that other elected representatives should also be brought under the purview of the rule.