Mumbai: Observing that there is an increasing tendency among people to tell lies and falsify records to retain power, the Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a gram panchayat member of Khopadi village in Nasik who had allegedly suppressed the birth of her third child, a daughter, to contest local elections.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Sangita Gurule challenging an order of the Additional Collector who disqualified her on the ground of having more than two children and giving a false statement in the nomination form that her third child was born after the cut off date.
"The craving for power has increased to such an extent that persons like the petitioner disown their family and children. It is unfortunate that when the child is disowned in such a manner for petty power politics that the parents forget that their girl child’s future becomes bleak and uncertain," observed Justice S C Dharmadhikari.
"It will be difficult for her (the child) to survive in today's world if her paternity is doubted and that too by her own parents. Thus, she is a innocent victim in their power game", the judge remarked.
The court also upheld the decision of the authorities to initiate criminal prosecution against the petitioner and guilty officials for allegedly falsifying officials records.
The petitioner was declared elected as gram panchayat member along with nine others in 2010 for a five year term. However, a rival candidate challenged Sangita's election alleging that she had given false date of birth of her daughter and suppressed information about her third child at the time of filing nomination.
The respondent relied upon a certificate of head mistress of Zilla Parishad primary school. The petitioner, however, contended that she had not supressed any information pertaining to her family. She admitted that she had three children but denied that the third one was born on December 22, 2001, prior to the cut off date.

She relied upon a certificate given by Gram Panchayat evidencing her daughter's birth date as April 22, 2001.
However, the respondent alleged that Sangita had colluded with authorities, particularly the Gramsevak, in preparing false record. The Collector, too, had taken a serious view of this and directed that criminal proceeding be initiated against the petitioner and the Gramsevak.
The court, however, upheld the decision of the Additional Collector and the Commissioner who opined that the third child of Sangita was born on December 22, 2001 and not on April 22, 2001 as contended by the petitioner.
The two officers relied upon a register known as "Mata Seva Nond Vahi", a register maintained at the village level to give health services to pregnant mothers. The duo also relied upon a register related to Integrated Child Development Scheme which stated that the child was born on December 22, 2001.
The officers had also concluded that the certificate of Gramsevak could not believed because upon being summoned he attended the hearing and made a statement that he had not granted any certificate or made any endoresement recording the date of birth of Sangita's third child as April 22, 2001.
The court held that the rural health schemes implemented by the government with the aid of such officials, as also the records maintained by them, definitely have evidentiary value and cannot be disputed.
The court justified the decision of the Collector to direct prosecution against the petitioner and guilty officials and directed that the action may be expedited. The judge also imposed Rs 5000 cost on the petitioner.