Male family members of the newly elected women panchayat members take the oath of office in many villages and districts of Madhya Pradesh.
In many cases, male relatives of the elected women panchayat members have been captured on camera being administered oath by the concerned village panchayat secretaries in Damoh, Panna and Sagar districts of the Bundelkhand region and Dhar district in the western area of the state. Similarly, an incident has been reported from a village panchayat in Rewa district, bordering east Uttar Pradesh.
One of the videos has come from the Jaisinagar village panchayat of Sagar district, where out of the 21 newly elected panchayat members, 10 are women. In the oath-taking ceremony videos, only three women are seen taking the oath, while male relatives do it on behalf of the remaining seven reps.
Some Defend Proxy Swearing-In
When a journalist questioned the Jaisinagar village panchayat secretary Asha Ram Sahu, he defended the proxy swearing-in, The New Indian Express reported.
"Only three out of 10 females turned up for the oath, leading men from their family being administered the oath," he said, adding that there is no provision for anyone other than the actual winner taking oaths.
The males who took oath in place of women included husbands, fathers and brothers-in-law.
In the adjoining Damoh district's Ghaisabad village panchayat, instead of the newly elected sarpanch and 11 women members, their spouses were administered oath by the village panchayat secretary.
Ajay Kumar Srivastava, the CEO of Damoh Zila Panchayat, has ordered the Hatta Janpad Panchayat to ensure the elected women are sworn in. "The Janpad Panchayat CEO has also been directed to take action against the village panchayat secretary concerned," he said.
In the neighbouring Panna district, a viral video showed Hakam Singh (the spouse of newly elected village sarpanch Aradhana Singh) taking the oath of sarpanch on behalf of his wife. The proxy swearing-ins come two months after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced monetary incentives of up to `15 lakh for village panchayats that elected women only.
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