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Married to Muslim, woman barred from ST seat

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court dismissed the nomination of a Gond Scheduled Tribe (ST) woman for contesting the panchayat elections from a reserved seat, citing her marriage with a Muslim man. The onus of proving that she isn’t following Islamic rituals but continues to be a Gond ST lies on the woman, the HC observed.

Shaheda Tabassum’s nomination — for contesting the Panchayat Samiti resident’s election as an ST candidate from Kurkheda sub-division in Gadchiroli — was rejected after her rival Manoj Sidam moved the HC, demanding the dismissal of her candidature.

Tabassum had filed the nomination in her paternal name, Sharda Deorao Uike, as the seat was reserved for an ST candidate. She was originally an ST and embraced Islam after marriage, which makes her a non-ST and thus ineligible to contest the election, the petitioner pointed out.

“In the facts of the case and considering the proposition laid down in the SC judgment, it’s held that the woman is not eligible to contest the election as an ST candidate,” a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Zaka Haq said. tnn

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