Chandigarh: To empower women, Cabinet minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal issued directions that will put an end to the practice of husbands/sons/relatives participating in meetings of Panchayati Raj Institutions on behalf of elected women. Some male members even sign documents on their behalf.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said that the Divisional Deputy Director Panchayats, Additional Deputy Commissioners Development, District Development and Panchayat Officers, Deputy Chief Executive Officers, Zilla Parishad, Block Development and Panchayat Officers have been issued directions in this regard to strictly implement the government orders in true sense otherwise legal action will be taken against violators.

The Rural Development Minister clearly stated that instructions have been issued several times in the past not to allow any woman elected representative’s husband/son or any other family member to participate on their behalf in the meetings of Panchayati Raj institutions, but despite of this it has been observed that whenever there is a meeting of the elected Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Committees and Gram Panchayats, instead of the elected women office bearers, their husbands or other family members attend the meetings. But it is mandatory for the elected representatives to participate in the meeting themselves, not anyone else on their behalf.

Dhaliwal said that the concerned officers have now been issued directions to strictly stop this wrong practice with immediate effect. It should also be ensured that whenever a meeting is held by the Panchayats or by the department, the elected female office bearers actively participate in the meeting and no other family member is allowed to participate in the meeting.

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