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Allahabad HC : Village head cannot delegate power to her husband

Prayagraj (UP), Nov 29: The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a writ petition with its affidavit sworn by a ‘pradhanpati’ (husband of woman pradhan) on behalf of his pradhan wife, denouncing the practice “widely prevalent in Uttar Pradesh”.

The court also imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on both, observing that a ‘pradhanpati’ has no business with the working of a ‘gaon sabha’.

On Tuesday, dismissing the writ petition filed by the gaon sabha of a village of Bijnor district Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery observed, “The term ‘pradhanpati’ is a very popular and widely used in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is used for ‘the husband’ of a woman pradhan. Despite being an unauthorized authority, ‘pradhanpati’ usually undertakes the work of a woman pradhan, that is, his wife.”

He further observed, “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 the so called ‘pradhanpati’ and the elected representative just acts like a mute spectator. The present writ petition is a glaring example of such a situation.”

This writ petition was filed by gaon sabha, village Madpuri, pargana Barapur, tehsil Nagina, district Bijnor through its pradhan, Karmjeet Kaur.

The writ petition was not accompanied by any resolution in favour of the elected pradhan authorising her to file it, but the affidavit accompanying the writ petition was sworn by Sukhdev Singh, the husband of the pradhan (‘pradhanpati’).

“In the capacity of pradhan, the petitioner has no power to delegate her rights, duties and obligations to her husband or any other person, arising out of her elected post, it said.”

“The pairokar, that is, ‘pradhanpati’ has no business to interfere with the working of a gaon sabha,” the court added.

However, it further said, “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 their village concerned. However, the present case does not appear to be such.”

The writ petition was dismissed with a cost of Rs 5,000 each, to be paid by petitioner Karmjeet Kaur and her husband, Sukhdev Singh to the registrar general of the court within two weeks.

The court also said that a copy of the order be sent to district magistrate, Bijnor, so that Sukhdev Singh is barred from entering the office of gaon sabha concerned in the capacity of ‘pradhanpati’ as well as to act as a representative of the pradhan for the rest of her present term of office.

Besides, it also directed that a copy of the order shall also be sent to the State Election Commission (SEC) so that it may consider issuing a circular for all candidates for future elections, cautioning them to be careful in exercising their powers, functions and duties as a village representative.