GRAMA PANCHAYAT ELECTIONS 2021- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) FOR THE GUIDANCE OF RETURNING OFFICERS
What is the minimum age for becoming a Ward Member or Sarpanch of a Gram Panchayat?
Not less than 21 years of age as on the date of scrutiny of nominations. Minimum age for becoming a Ward Member or Sarpanch of a Gram Panchayat shall be 21 years (Sec. 17 of Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994).
If I am not a registered voter in any Gram Panchayat, can I contest elections?
No. For contesting election as a Ward Member or Sarpanch, a person must be a registered voter in any of the electoral roll of the Gram Panchayat concerned [Rule 8(2)(a) of Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Conduct of Election) Rules, 2006].
If I am a registered voter in Gram Panchayat, can I propose a candidate to contest from any Ward of the Gram Panchayat concerned?
No. The proposer for Member of a Ward in the Gram Panchayat shall be a registered voter in the Ward concerned. But, the proposer to the office of Sarpanch shall be a registered voter in any ward of the concerned Gram Panchayat [Rule 8(2)(b) of Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Conduct of Election) Rules, 2006].
Children given on adoption are to be counted against the natural parents or adopted parents?
As per the judgment delivered by the Hon’ble High Court of AP in WP No. 17947 of 2005 dated 19.7.2006, children given on adoption shall be counted against their natural or biological parents, but not against the parents who have adopted them. If a person possessed three children and gave one child out of the three on adoption shall also incur disqualification.
If a person has two children with first wife who passed away and possessed one more child with his second wife. Is he qualified or disqualified? What about his second wife?
If a person has two children with first wife who passed away and possessed one more child with his second wife, he shall be disqualified. However, his second wife, who gave birth to only one child, is qualified.
If a person has three children and one of them died before the date of scrutiny, is he qualified?
Yes. The number of living children a person is having as on the date of scrutiny is the criteria for determining his eligibility under this section.
If a lady who already possessed two children and is pregnant as on date of scrutiny, is she qualified or disqualified?
She is qualified as she is having only two children as on the date of scrutiny.
Whether an employee of State Government or Central Government or of a local authority is qualified to contest elections?
No. He/she is disqualified under Sec.18(1) of APPR Act, 1994. However, if the resignation tendered by such an employee is accepted by the date of scrutiny, his nomination can be accepted.
Is a Fair Price Shop dealer qualified to contest elections?
Yes. The Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh in W.P.No.14189/ 2006 and batch relied upon the judgment of Somnath Rath V. Bikram K. Arukh reported in AIR 1999 Supreme Court, 3417, held that the Fair Price Shop dealers are eligible to contest elections.
Is an Anganwadi worker eligible to contest elections?
No. They are not eligible to contest elections under Sec.18(1) of APPR Act, 1994 (as per the Judgment of the Hon’ble High Court dtd.09.4.2007 in WP No.6894 of 2007).
Whether office bearers of Water Users’ Association are eligible for contesting elections?
No. They are disqualified under section 18(1) of APPR Act, 1994 as per the judgment of the Hon’ble High Court dated 13.11.2010 in WP No. 13294 of 2010. Under section 18(1), any office bearer of a body constituted under a law made by the legislature of the State or Parliament is disqualified for being chosen or for being a Member of Gram Panchayat. Water Users’ Association is a body constituted under A.P. Farmers Management of Irrigation Systems Act, 1997. As such, its office bearers are disqualified under the sections referred in this answer.Q.13.
Whether office bearers of Cooperative Societies are eligible for contesting elections?
Yes. Office bearers of Cooperative Societies are entitled to contest elections to Panchayat Raj Bodies. Cooperative Societies or organisations registered under the Cooperative Societies Act, 1954 and they are not directly constituted under the said Act.
Whether Chairman and Members of Trust Boards of a charitable or religious institution are eligible to contest elections?
No. They are disqualified under section 18(1) of APPR Act, 1994. The trust board of a charitable or religious institution is appointed under section 15 of the A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987.
Can a proposer of any candidate be also a candidate for the same territorial constituency?
Yes, as per law there is no bar.
If information given by a candidate in declaration is wrong, can RO reject the nomination of the candidate? Especially, if other candidates raise objection and give proof that information in the declaration is wrong.
No, the nomination of a candidate cannot be rejected for suppressing or giving false information in the declaration. The copies of the nomination papers filed by each candidate along with copy of the declaration accompanying the nomination should be displayed on the notice board in the office of RO on the day the nomination is filed. If anyone furnishes any information contradicting the statements in the nomination form or declaration by means of a duly sworn affidavit / declaration, copies of such affidavits / declarations should also be displayed on the notice board. If the RO is satisfied that the information given by the candidate in the declaration is wrong, he is required to file a formal complaint before the appropriate Court under section 177 of IPC (read with section 200 CrPC).
If a complaint is received that a person who has filed nomination is of unsound mind, what course of action will be taken by RO?
The complainant has to prove by producing a declaration by the competent court under the Lunacy Act to the affect that the person concerned is of unsound mind. Disqualification under Sec. 19(2)(a) of APPR Act, 1994 is attracted only when there is a declaration by competent court that the person is of unsound mind.
Whether nomination papers of a candidate who was physically present just a minute before 5:00 PM on the last day of nomination, but without documents will be received or not?
Nomination paper if available with the candidate has to be received but no other document shall be permitted to be brought into his office after 5:00 PM. In the check list, the fact of not having submitted the relevant documents will be entered. Question of rejection of nomination paper will be decided at the time of scrutiny.