In view of yesterday's order, the Haryana government rushed to the court and sought an urgent hearing on the entire issue saying the stay on the recent amendments in the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 amounts to 'virtually' staying the election process in the state.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state, said such laws have been passed in Rajasthan also and the Supreme Court did not find it fit to stay them. A bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre, which had yesterday issued notice and sought state's reply within for weeks, has now fixed the matter for hearing on Monday.

The court stayed the provisions prescribing minimum educational qualifications for panchayat polls contestants after the petitioner alleged that the Act had discriminatory provisions that restrains persons from contesting elections on ground of educational qualifications.

The amended law fixes Matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting the panchayat elections, while the qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII. However, in case of a woman candidate belonging to SC category contesting election for the post of Panch, the minimum qualification would be Class V pass, the law says.

The amended law was passed on the concluding day of the Monsoon session of Haryana Assembly this September. The lawyer for the petitioner said that 83 percent of Dalit women and 71 percent women in general and 56 percent men would be excluded from contesting the panchayat polls by this law, which affected fundamental rights of the candidates.

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