Pradeep Pattanayak

A 62-year-old Sarpanch, who was elected in the three-tier Panchayat elections held in 2022, has to pay a heavy price for his inability to read and write the Odia language. 

The Court of the Civil Judge (Junior Division), Dhenkanal has declared the election of Kailash Chandra Dehury, Sarpanch of Gengutia Gram Panchayat under Sadar block, void and disqualified him under Section 11 (B) of the Orissa Gram Panchayats Act, 1964.   

The court passed the order on February 28 while hearing a petition filed by Purusottam Dehury who was defeated by Kailash Chandra Dehury in the Panchayat election held in 2022.

In his petition, Purushottam alleged that though Kailash was purely illiterate and unable to read and write, he has sworn false affidavit regarding his list of properties, bank accounts, educational qualification and other points as laid down in the Election Manual.  

While pronouncing the verdict, Civil Judge (Junior Division) Sudhi Ranjan Dash disqualified Kailash as the Sarpanch. Dash also ordered the creation of a casual vacancy and the conduct of a fresh election for the post of Sarpanch. 

“This election petition is allowed in part, but without costs. In terms of Section 39 of the Act, the election of opposite party no. I is hereby declared void as he stands disqualified being not able to read and write "Oriya" on the date of election as required by Section II(b) of the Act. In view of the ruling in Basant Kumar Sahoo (supra), in terms of Section 38(2)(a) of the Act, a casual vacancy is to be created and fresh election has to be conducted,” read the order.


(Reported by Rajashree Satapathy, OTV)