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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Ganjam: A lady sarpanch from the district was disqualified from the post on Thursday for not knowing Odia and submitting a fake cast certificate while filing her nomination form.

According to the 1994 Odisha Gram Panchayat Act, a person is ineligible of holding any position in a gram panchayat if he or she does not know how to write and speak Odia. Such a person cannot contest any post too.

M Laxmi was elected as the sarpanch of Aryapali gram panchayat under Chhatrapur block of the district during the panchayat polls held in the year 2017.

However, a petition at the Civil Judge Senior Division Court in Chhatrapur was filed against Laxmi seeking her disqualification on the grounds of not having the knowledge of Odia language.

After the hearing was over, lawyer, Manoj Kumar Padhy said, “Based on the statements of witnesses from each side, the Chhatrapur Civil Judge Senior Division disqualified the standing sarpanch Laxmi for not knowing Odia. The Court has also directed the district Collector to take further action in this regard,” Padhy added.

The court has also sent notice to the Collector and the Communication Officer to take further action as the post will be lying vacant after Laxmi's dismissal.

It is worth mentioning that earlier on Panchayatiraj Divas on March 6, another sarpanch--P Simadri from the district was disqualified from his post for not knowing Odia, having two wives and six children.

Simadri was elected as the sarpanch of Agastinuagam gram panchayat under Chhatrapur block of Ganjam district during the panchayat polls held in the year 2017. Simadri had won by defeating his nearest rival Niwasi Gouda.

(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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