The Bombay High Court held that excusing misconduct by women is counterproductive to the goal of women's empowerment. The court expressed these views while removing a female Sarpanch from her post due to her misconduct.
The Sarpanch Pratima Gaikar was accused of laying a claim and taking a share of money for her personal motives when the money belonged to the village community.
The Rural Development Minister of Maharashtra decided not to remove Gaikar from her seat and stated that removing the female Sarpanch would go against women's empowerment. The Bombay High Court, however, ruled against excusing misconduct by women for the sake of women's empowerment.
The Bombay High Court squashed the order Minister's decision and removed the female Sarpanch from her seat, noting that excusing her misconduct on the virtue of her gender would agitate women's empowerment in a democracy. The Bombay High Court bench was led by Justice Jamadar.
Excusing Misconduct By Women Defeats Women's Empowerment
The Bombay High Court conveyed that women's political representation at the grass root level is essential for strengthening the concept of women's empowerment. However, if the Sarpanch woman was excused for her misconduct then it would be done under the guise of female empowerment which would nullify its entire concept.
The court conveyed that the Rural Minister of Development was in the wrong for excusing the misconduct. Furthermore, the Bombay High Court added that removing the female Sarpanch for her misconduct empowers democracy and serves the public interest. The Court added that the removal of the female Sarpanch should be substituted by another female candidate for her seat.
The Rural Development Minister's decision not to remove Gaikar, the Sarpanch in question, was a decision that was challenged at the High Court.
Interestingly, the Division Commander initially ordered relieving Gaikar of her duties at the Raigad District at the Ambivali village. The Rural Development Minister had however quashed this order.
Gaikar in addition to being a Sarpanch was the Chairperson of the Village Water Supply and Sanitation Committee. She withdrew 15,549 rupees for her personal motives.