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Sharmili Mallick

Ganjam: On the occasion of Panchayatiraj Divas on Friday, a sarpanch from Odisha's Ganjam district was disqualified from his post for not knowing Odia, having two wives and six children.

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, have more than two children and illegally has more than one husband/wife. Such a person cannot contest any post too.

P 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.

However, after losing the polls, Gouda had filed a petition at the Civil Judge Senior Division Court in Chhatrapur challenging his disqualification as sarpanch of Agastinuagam gram panchayat on the grounds of not having the knowledge of Odia language, having two wives and six children.

After the hearing was over, Gouda's lawyer, Srikant Mishra said, "Based on the statements of four witnesses, two from each side, the Chhatrapur Civil Judge Senior Division disqualified the standing sarpanch Simadri for not knowing Odia. The Court has also directed the District Collector to take further action in this regard," Mishra added.

"I had filed the petition against Simadri after the panchyat elections in 2017. My three and half years of legal battle is over now as he has been disqualified from his post by the court for violating the Odisha Gram Panchayat Act. The court has also sent notice to the district collector and communication officer to take further action as the post will be lying vacant after Simadri's dismissal," said Gouda.

(Edited by Pradeep Singh)

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