Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday termed as a "mockery of the Constitution" the incident of male relatives of some newly-elected women panchayat office-bearers and members being administered the oath of office instead of the latter in a few villages of Madhya Pradesh.
The former Union minister said the Madhya Pradesh government should annul the 'oath' taken by the non-elected persons and ensure that the women elected representatives to take the oath and function as members of panchayats.
"It is both a tragedy and a comedy to witness husbands of elected women representatives take oath as 'members' of Panchayats in Madhya Pradesh! Unbelievable that in the 75th year of Independence, there can be such a mockery of the Constitution and the Laws," Chidambaram said in a tweet.
"What did the MP Government mean when it said that it will issue an 'advisory' to prevent such incidents? MP government should annul the 'oath' taken by the non-elected persons & ensure that the women elected representatives to take the oath and function as members of the Panchayats," he said in another tweet.
The male relatives, who included fathers and husbands of some women, took oath on Thursday last at a few places in Sagar and Damoh districts. The videos of the 'oath-taking' ceremonies went viral on social media.
After the videos surfaced, Sagar district panchayat's chief executive officer (CEO) issued an order on Friday last, suspending Jaisinagar village panchayat's secretary Asharam Sahu with immediate effect on charges of administering the oath of office to the husbands, brother-in-law, and fathers of women, who were recently elected to the panchayat office.
When asked, Sahu told reporters that the male members of the family were allowed to take oath as despite repeated instructions to attend the event, the women failed to turn up and instead sent their relatives on their behalf.
(Inputs from PTI)