Panchayat bans love marriage, women below 40
Baghpat (UP), 13 July 2012: In bizarre diktats, love marriages have been banned and women below the age of 40 years barred from going out for shopping and using mobile phones outside their homes by a village panchayat here.
The panchayat in Asara village in Ramala area also ruled that when women leave their homes, their heads must be covered.
The diktats were issued during a meeting of the panchayat held on Wednesday, according to police.
Banning love marriages, the panchayat said those doing so would not be allowed to live in the village.
Superintendent of Police, Baghpat, V K Shekhar said he has been informed about the diktats and that an inquiry will be conducted.
He said no arrest has been made in connection with the panchayat’s directives and any action that may be needed would be taken after getting the inquiry report.
Reacting to the panchayat orders, National Commission for Women chief Mamta Sharma regretted that such directives have issued after 64 years of independence.
"Panchayats do not enjoy constitutional powers. And if there are no powers, there is no need to follow the orders," she said, maintaining that the authorities should take action and direct that the diktats should not be followed.
Terming the orders as "laughable" in the modern era, Sharma said, "The state should issue an order stating that such diktats should not be followed."
In Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh State Women Commission has sought a report from Baghpat district administration on diktats issued by the village panchayat.
"The Commission has sought an immediate report from Baghpat district magistrate in this connection," official sources said.
Meanwhile, local residents claimed the panchayat had issued the directives after a consensus was reached on them by members several communities living in the village.