Decided on March 05,2020



D.Dash,J. - (1.) The petitioner, by filing this writ application, has prayed for quashment of an order dated 08.11.2019 of the Government in the Department of Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water under Annexure-1 as to the suspension of the petitioner, who is the elected Sarpanch of Badbanga Grama Panchayat under Lephripada Block in the district of Sundargarh. By the said order, proceeding has been initiated against the petitioner for her removal from the office of Sarpanch for alleged wilful 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 she and the Ex-Panchayat Extension Officer of the Grama Panchayat are withdrawing funds from the Central Finance Commission (CFC) account of Grama Panchayat and both in connivance with each other have drawn Rs.65,000/- showing that as advance in the cash book for the project of construction of drain which is not there in the Grama Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) for the year. It is said that the PEO having been relieved has not handed over the charges to the new PEO and that is under the connivance of this petitioner. 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 BadbangaGrama 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 Badbanga Grama Panchayat had been in the office and discharging her duty as such since her assumption of the charge of the office after election. The petitioner, having received the above letter under Annexure-1, submitted her explanation on 15.11.2019. It is stated that she has not signed the cheques for withdrawal of Rs.65,000/- and her signatures have been forged and it is that Ex-PEO, who has done all these acts.
(3.) The opposite party nos. 3&5 in the counter have stated that upon on enquiry made by the Sub-Collector, Sadar, Sundargarh has given the report that the amount in two phases i.e., Rs.25,000/- and Rs.40,000/- have been withdrawn by two cheques jointly signed by the petitioner and that Ex-PEO and accordingly, the report having been submitted to the Collector, Sundargarh under Annexure-A, the Collector having reported the matter, the petitioner has been rightly put under suspension in exercise of the power under sub-section-2 of section 155 of the Gram Panchayat Act pending enquiry for action under sub-section-1 of section 115 of the G.P. Act.;

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