Court nixes eunuch's election as mayor

­The election of eunuchs to senior posts in local government bodies has been nullified by courts for the lack of clarity on their gender.

Kamla Bua, a eunuch, had won the Sagar mayoral polls in 2009 by a handsome margin of over 43,000 votes from the seat reserved for women belonging to SC category.

“Her” nearest rival challenged the verdict in the district court in 2011 saying that Bua was a eunuch and , therefore, s/he cannot contest polls from a seat reserved for women.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the court nullified the election of Kamla Bua on the ground that being a eunuch, s/he has failed to prove that s/he is a woman and to prove that s/he belongs to the SC category.

The court also rejected the argument that the issue should have been settled at the time of scrutiny of the nomination papers.

“Though the court has nullified Kamla’s election, it failed to address the basic issue as to what category these persons belong to and from where they can contest elections —seats reserved for men or for women,” Prof Ayub Khan from Government Maharani Laxmi Bai College of Excellence, Gwalior, who has deeply studied the subject, told PTI.

Khan, whose book “Hijdas in Politics or Politics in Hijdas” is under publication, says the question is significant in view of the fact that people have given a decisive mandate to a eunuch to run the affairs of a municipal body and the gesture should be honoured in a democracy more than anything else.

“Though officials erred in not rejecting their (eunuch’s) nomination papers during the scrutiny, people knew that they were voting for a eunuch, so there is no point in nullifying the polls,” Khan said.

He pointed out that eunuchs, who have a voting right, are also eligible to contest the polls from any seat of their choice.

Khan said eunuchs got voting rights in 1994 and according to Census offices, the issue of categorising them as between men and women was left to their own discretion.

Barkatullah University professor and head of sociology department, Gyanendra Gautam is also of the opinion that since the Constitution has given them voting rights, the court should also settle the issue as to from which seat they are eligible to contest the polls, to clear the ambiguity.

Incidentally, Madhya Pradesh was the first state in the country from where a eunuch, Shabnam Mousi from Katni, was elected an MLA during the Congress rule in 1998.

Later, the same city elected another eunuch, Kamla Jaan, as a mayor. However, Kamla Jaan’s election was nullified by the district court which cited that the seat was reserved for general category woman and treated Kamala as a man.

The order on Kamla Bua’s election has been challenged in the High Court and its decision is awaited.

The Election Commission had notified for the civic polls in scheduled (SC/ST) areas of the state, including Sagar, earlier this year, but the HC stayed the poll process in view of the pendency of the petition filed by Kamla Bua against the nullification of her election.

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