In the sovereign of India, political leaders form a crucial pillar of victorious and flourished democracy, without whom the nation’s administration can’t be operated satisfactorily. Being the chieftain, he holds the pivotal role in the foundation of the country. Though he possesses all the attributes of ideal administrator, but he still lacks the educational tenets in his charismatic personality.
Moving forward, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world[i]. It is the process of procuring the sophisticated understanding of concepts through the unceasing learning of new phenomenon. Greek philosopher Aristotle said about education that, “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.” “Today frontiers of knowledge are enlarging with incredible swiftness. The foremost need to be satisfied by our education is the eradication of illiteracy which persists in a depressing measure, any effort taken in this direction of be deemed to be too much[ii]”.Thus, the political leaders must be enlightened to fulfil their responsibilities for soaring up the lives of masses to lead the nation towards a pragmatic approach.
Furthermore, in this era of advancement and innovation, only authoritative and decisive heads are not sufficient to command the operations of the whole regime, educated and cultivated minds are mandatory to supervise the management and to turn the tribulations into opportunities to lead the country towards evolutionary changes but its bitter pill to swallow that most of the leaders don’t possess apt educational qualifications according to their political arena. Most of their desk work is done by appointed bureaucrats and officers and the politicians merely sign and affirm them as they are not rational to analyse the factual situations and draw interpretations because they are ignorant of intrinsic details. Thus, there is an obligation of being knowledgeable rather than mere strong-willed rulers.
Apart from above, Constitution being the supreme law of land has no mention regarding the minimum educational qualification for electorates and there are no traces of any provision regarding the same under Representation of People’s Act, 1951. Though there was an amendment made by the Haryana and Rajasthan governments related to minimum educational qualification for being eligible to contest panchayat elections but the same didn’t prove breakthrough in the Indian legislation. In 2015, a Public Interest Litigation was filed in Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the law under which Supreme Court upheld the state’s law. Under the Haryana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, Haryana made it mandatory for general male candidate to pass class 10th and general woman candidate to pass class 8th as well as for Dalit male candidate, it is obligatory to pass class 8th and for Dalit female candidate, to pass class 5th. Justice Chelameswar, who authored the verdict gave reasons that there is nothing “irrational or illegal or unconnected” if law prescribes minimum educational qualification for candidates. The court feels that basic education would “enable the candidates to effectively discharge duties of the panchayat”. Justice Chalameswar further reasoned, “It is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad. Therefore, prescription of an educational qualification is not irrelevant for better administration.” Supreme Court further observed, “Those who aspire to get elected to those civic bodies and administer them must set an example for others.” The supreme court also opined that the criteria may lead to disqualification of a large number of candidates, but the legislation by government was not arbitrary because the classification was reasonable and based on intelligible differentia.” A similar amendment was also proposed by the Rajasthan government but the same was scrapped by the legislative bodies due to some drawbacks or being unadaptable to state’s affairs. Thus, the education’s obligation ought to be dominant requirement for being enrolled as electoral candidate otherwise the affluent and unscrupulous leaders will ruin the country’s administration.
Furthermore, the data analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms shows that as per the affidavits submitted to election commission, it turns out that Uma Bharti[iii], Harsimrat Kaur[iv] and Maneka Gandhi[v] are least educated as they have been educated up to6th , 10th and 12th grade respectively. Moreover, nobody is ignorant about the dissensions regarding Smriti Irani’s[vi] educational background as her academic qualifications differ among all the authorised sources and it is claimed that she has not been even graduated. On the other hand, Ashok Gajapathi Raju[vii] only studied up to class 10th and Anant Geete[viii] as well as Vishnu Deo Sai[ix] also shared the same grades. According to reports[x], Bhartiya Janta Party has a few 5th and 8th grade pass members’ of Parliament and 10% of them are 8th pass however only 23% members of parliament are graduates and mere25% of them are post-graduates whereas only 14% of congress’ members’ of parliament are graduates. On the other hand, a report from UNESCO[xi] stated that, India has by far the largest population of illiterate adults that is 287 million or 37% of global in toto and 2011 census reveals that literacy rate has increased to 74.04% but still it needs to be upgraded rapidly.
To epitomise, being educated is the cardinal desideratum of the sovereign apart from being obdurate determining authoritative head, which will conclusively lead to unfolding of plethora of opportunities and will result in restructuring of evolving and blooming India.
[i] NelsonRolihlahla Mandela’s saying who was a South African political leader and anti-apartheid revolutionary.
[ii]Unni Krishnan, J.P. and others V. State of Andhra Pradesh and others 1993 AIR 217, 1993 SCR (1) 594, 1993 SCC (1)645, JT 1993 (1)474 ,1993 SCALE (1) 290.
[iii]Cabinet minister for drinking water and sanitation.
[iv]Food processing industry central minister.
[v]Child development central minister.
[vi]Human resource development central minister.
[vii]Former Union minister for civil aviation.
[viii]Servedasheavy industries and public enterprises minister.
[x]Economic Times article.
[xi]United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
Written by Ridhima Sharma of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Edited by Tushar Nigam