Decided on February 04,2020



D.Dash, J. - (1.) The petitioner, by filing this writ application, has prayed for quashment of an order dated 26.09.2019 of the Government in the Department of Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water under Annexure-5 as to the suspension of the petitioner, who is the elected Sarpanch of Kalyanpur Grama Panchayat under Binjharpur Block in the district of Jajpur. By the said order, proceeding has been initiated against the petitioner for his removal from the office of Sarpanch for alleged willful violation of the provisions of section 19 of Odisha Grama Panchayat Act, 1964 (hereinafter called as "the OGP Act") and acting in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the Grama as such her continuance in the office as detrimental to the interest of the inhabitants of the Grama Panchayat. In view of that, the petitioner has been called upon to to explain the charges with their factual settings as annexed to the said order within thirty days of receipt of the same as to why action as deemed proper under sub-section 1 of section 115 of the O.G.P. Act shall not be taken against her. The charge against the petitioner is that her husband have presided over the Grama Panchayat meetings several times, in her absence. While issuing the notice for the purpose of exercising the power under sub-section 1 of section 115 of the OGP Act, the petitioner, who is the elected Sarpanch of Kalyanpur Grama Panchayat has been placed under suspension in exercise of power under sub-section 2 of section 115 of the O.G.P. Act. This order of suspension is specifically under challenge in this writ application.
(2.) Brief facts necessary for the purpose are as under:- The petitioner being the elected Sarpanch of Kalyanpur Grama Panchayat had been in the office and discharging her duty as such since her assumption of the charge of the office after election. When the matter was continuing as such, the Grama Panchayat Officer, Opposite Party No.5, by his letter no.1016 dated 5.8.2019 under the subject "Notice for allowing unwanted person inside the GP Meeting held on 30.07.2019"; called for an explanation from the petitioner as to why action under sub-section 1 of section 115 of the O.G.P. Act shall not be taken for her act in allowing such unwanted person during the Grama Panchayat meeting. The letter as finds mention therein is based upon the allegation that in course of Grama Panchayat meeting on 30.07.2019, the petitioner's husband had gone to the place where meeting of the Grama Panchayat was going on. There he had vomited some untoward/unpleasant remarks against the Government as well as Chief Minister for which the members present in the meeting raised their protest and opposing his entry, expressed displeasure over such remarks given by the petitioner's husband and had requested her to take appropriate step as provided in law in the matter. The petitioner, having received the above letter under Annexure-1, submitted her explanation on 8.8.2019. It is stated that on 30.07.2019, all the Ward Members were present in the meeting presided over by her and it was also so attended by the G.R.S., Pratima Behera and no such situation had at all taken place during the meeting. The facts alleged in the notice are stated to be false. The petitioner has asked the Opposite Party No.5 to make a field enquiry in ascertaining the truth behind such allegations. The allegations to the effect of appearance of the husband of the petitioner in the Grama Panchayat meeting and making of unwanted remarks against the Government and Chief Minister have been flatly denied as blatant lies. In support of the same, it has been further stated that 13 to 14 members having been confronted with such allegations; they have expressed that no such incident had ever taken place on 30.07.2019 in further stating that their signatures taken on some blank papers have been used in creating that letter addressed to Opposite Party No.5 by manipulation so as to serve the ulterior goal of removing the petitioner who is the elected Sarpanch as she does not have the affiliation to the political party presently ruling the State.
(3.) The opposite party no.4 in the counter has stated that before interim order having been passed on 04.10.2019, the order of suspension dated 26.09.2019 under Annexurer-5 had been communicated to the petitioner with an instruction to her to handover the charge of the office on 27.09.2019 as at Annexure-A/4 which she failed to do. It is further stated that due to urgency, the Naib Sarpanch has already taken charge of the office of Sarpanch and has been acting as such since 30.09.2019, also has convened meeting of the Grama Sabha on 02.10.2019 and thereafter. This is all the counter of said opposite party no.4.;

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