Concern over fake certificates in R'than Panchayati Raj polls

Candidates likely to fetch false marksheets to meet new criteria

The announcement of minimum educational qualifications in the Panchayati Raj elections has raised serious concerns over the possible circulation of fake marksheets and certificates during the polls.

The state election commission officials have admitted that they have no mechanism to verify candidates’ marksheets. 

In such a situation, problems seem to galore for the state government even after the elections when complaints of fake marksheets will start pouring.

The amendment to the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act 1994 has made it mandatory for the candidates contesting zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls to be class 10 pass and those contesting sarpanch elections to be class 8 pass. In scheduled areas the eligibility has been fixed at class 5 pass.

Khimsar MLA Hanuman Beniwal has accepted that candidates who became ineligible after the new law are exploring all options to contest the polls.

The candidates may not arrange class 10 marksheets as it is issued by the board concerned, but the possibilities of obtaining fake marksheets of class 8 and 5 through unfair means cannot be ignored.

  “Question papers of several competitive exams conducted last year were leaked well in advance. Will it be difficult for such gangs to arrange class 8 and 5 marksheets and sell it to the candidates. The new law will breed corruption,” said Hanuman Beniwal.

“People in my constituency are ready to get marksheets of class 8 at any cost. Several private school owners informed me that they are being approached to issue marksheets on previous date,” Beniwal said.  But the schools have regused to do so, he added.
Safety measures

 The BJP leaders also feel that the new provisions must be accompanied with proper safety measures against the possibility of fake marksheets.

“Till class 8 you do not have board examination. In such a situation, a possibility of adopting fake marksheets by unfair means cannot be denied,” said a BJP legislator from Barmer district.

Documents’ credibility   

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Election Commissioner Ram Lubhaya said there is no mechanism to verify the credibility of the documents specially the marksheets that the candidates submit. 

He said it was the government’s job to deal with it. However, the state government officials claim that the system has sufficient measures to prevent such crimes.
Principal Secretary Rural Development, Shreemat Pandey said the candidates will be submitting affidavits with the educational certificates. 

“Forged documents will be identified during investigations on any complaint. The law will take its own course even if the candidate is elected or completes the term,” said Shreemat Pandey.

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