SC asks NGO to move govt against sarpanch-patism

Table of Contents

Context
The Supreme Court said that the government, and not the judiciary, should look into the problem of men often wielding the actual power behind elected women who remain “faceless wives and daughters-in-law” in grassroots politics.
About Panchayat:
  • ‘Panchayat’, being “Local government”, is a state subject and part of the State list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • Through the 73rdconstitutional amendment, one-third of seats in Panchayats were reserved for women. Severalstates raised the quantum of reserved seats to fifty percent.
    • This was aimed at empowering women and ensuring their participation in the political process and decision-making at the grass root level.
  • Punjab has also made provisions of 50% reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts.
  • Clause (3) of Article 243Dof the Constitution ensures the participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions by mandating not less than one-third reservation for women out of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election and the number of offices of chairpersons of Panchayats.
What is sarpanch-patism?
  • Most of the women’s sarpanches do not attend meetings.
  • Instead, the male family members of several women’s sarpanches were attending official meetings on their behalf. Some male members even sign documents on their behalf.
How does it impact?
  • Proxy sarpanches diminish women’s authority and block the election of women keen on bringing about a change in society through a career in politics.
  • This is not only making a mockery of the reservation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions but also appears to be a hurdle for other deserving women candidates.
Reasons for emergence of ”sarpanch proxies” Required measures
  • Resistance due to Social barriers
  • Poor social status of women
  • poor level of literacy
  • confined to domestic spaces
  • lack financial independence
  • Lack of skills
  • Failure of government
  • Raising society’s awareness about women’s rights
  • Sensitizing bureaucracy about the relevance of women’s participation at the panchayat level.
  • Social barriers due to traditional society need to go away.

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