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EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND EFFECT OF DEMOCRACY

Elections are the lifeblood of democracy, which provides an opportunity for voters to exercise their sacred right, i.e., the right to vote to choose their representatives. They became intrinsic to the life of Indian citizens these days. This vital process, therefore, needs to be made effective by freeing it from the influence of money and muscle power and there should be a systematic check to prevent the inflow of candidates with criminal backgrounds into the system. Free and fair elections are one of the inherent features of democracies be it direct or indirect. India has both types of elections.[1]  
Democracy is not new to India; rather it is a concept that has been transplanted back into the field as in ancient India there were Janapadas and Mahajanapadas which functioned in a manner that was quite similar to the notion of Democracy. There are problems related to the operational aspects of the election. These may be like mistakes in voter rolls in terms of the non-inclusion of the names of some voters in the list, duplications of some names, wrongly written voter names, lack of proper training to list-makers, the preparation of voter list without properly consulting area maps, lack of efficient supervision on the part of line department staff, lack of proper training to data entry operators, puppet candidates/relatives standing on behalf of an uneducated politician, politicians procuring fake degrees etc.etc, which are associated with the electoral operations. More or less, these problems have been found in many constituencies. Some of the above problems can be solved by having people of good education in the fields of maintaining democracy.[2] 
Education plays a vital role in achieving democracy. Primary education in India has not received adequate attention. The most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, to endeavor to relate it to the life, needs, and aspirations of the people and thereby make it a powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation necessary for the realization of the national goals. For this purpose, education should be developed so as to increase productivity, achieve social and national integration, accelerate the process of modernization and cultivate social, moral and spiritual.
Education is meant to develop the role of acculturation in the community, it can not emphasize spiritual development.[3] The former is centrifugal while the latter is centripetal in character. Once again there is an emphasis on scientific temper, self-reliance and the role of providing manpower to different levels of the economy. The role of the Government is to provide adequate facilities for education in certain areas and hence the candidates in such areas should be exempt from the application of the qualification.[4] 
Article 45(after 86th Amendment) clearly endows the state to mandate free and compulsory education for all the people to age between 6 to 14. This was envisaged from article 21 A which mandates the Right to Education by invoking RTE act, 2006. The introduction of the RTE can certainly not be a justification for this qualification. An important point to be considered here is the fact that the minimum age for participating in elections. Even if we consider that people stand for elections as soon as they turn that age, the people presently aged presently certainly did not have the state-provided means of education during the years they would have required the same to make them eligible.
Elected candidates rule people. They should have a minimal level of knowledge (education up to class VII) about the governance, politics rule and economy of the area he is elected. When it comes to statistics places like Rajasthan, though has the least level of literacy made it obvious by electing people who are illiterates or having a non-suitable character as a leader for the people. These places even face critiques like absentee teachers, eager students to remain illiterate, etc. There always lies a political significance despite access to education over the years. Illiterate people may have a chance to become politically vulnerable. To put things in motion: one member of the Constituent Assembly suggested that it was unfortunate that the adult suffrage had to be extended to illiterate persons. But he also conceded that the very notion of adult suffrage would be rendered meaningless if it were denied to the illiterate because it was such a large share of the population. There has, hitherto, been some strength in numbers. Democracy needs Responsibility, it comes through awareness and knowledge where education is the key factor for those things.
In the Javed v State of Haryana case, the Rajasthan High Court could have mimicked the Supreme Court’s reasoning – “Education, including primary and secondary schools”; “adult and non-formal education” of schedule 11 of the constitution.  It is also manifest that the basic error committed by the Supreme Court in Javed was to conflate the two different objects of lending legal recognition to the Panchayats (vide the 73 Amendment and the Panchayati Raj Act) – 
  1. One is to create a right of political participation and self-governance by opening up positions to institutions with statutory power for those hitherto deprived of it; 
  2. The other is to encourage such constituted bodies to engage in certain activities and promote certain goals. 
A statutory amendment, in order to survive the object-nexus test, ought to be consistent with the corresponding object of the main Statute or the Constitutional Amendment authorizing the statute. The High Court here aptly identifies this distinction –
“The disqualification for membership, under Article 243F of the Constitution, to be prescribed by the Legislature of the State, could not have provided for any such condition attached, which may have taken away the rights of the self-governance, except for disqualifications, which have material object to achieve, such as the character, integrity or morality of the person to represent. Any other disqualification will negate the object of self-governance at the grass-root level, peoples’ participation, and social justice”. “In fact, prescription of educational qualification for inclusion for contesting elections in any democratic institution, unless there is strong nexus with the object, to be achieved, is an antithesis to the democratic governance of the institution in a republic”
The 73 Amendment itself states that one of the objects of constitutionalizing the Panchayati Raj institutions is to remedy the “insufficient representation of weaker sections like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and women”. In order to fulfill the object-nexus test for article 14, a statutory amendment to a law ought to be consistent with the corresponding object of the constitutional amendment or provision authorizing such a law.[5] If one of the stated objects of the 73 Amendment could effectively be subverted by setting electoral bars in pursuance of goals the constituted body is to pursue, then the object of the Constitutional Amendment would be defeated. It should be in a more passive way by electing the people who have “horse sense”, “who makes political judgment”.[6] 
References
[1] Rahul Sen, and D.K. Bhattacharya. “Education in India.” Indian Anthropologist, vol. 21, no. 2, 1991, pp. 67–74. 
[2] Devansh Malhotra and Ritik Rath, “Election Reforms in the Light of Recent Judicial and Legislative Actions.”  Pp.20-43
[3] Ramesh, R. “Historical Perspectives of Electoral Reforms in India.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 72, 2011, pp. 1325–1336
[4] Kumar, B.Venkatesh. “Critical Issues in Electoral Reforms.” The Indian Journal of Political Science, vol. 63, no. 1, 2002, pp. 73–88. 
[5] Vance, Cyrus R. “Reforming the Electoral Reforms.” Yale Law & Policy Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 1982, pp. 151–157.  
[6] Reddy, A. Eswara. “Panel IV: Electoral Reforms in India.” The Indian Journal of Political Science, vol. 52, no. 1, 1991, pp. 140–144. 

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