Candidates contesting the panchayat elections in Odisha, if found to have concealed information in their affidavits about their criminal antecedents, assets, liabilities and educational qualification, will have to undergo a six-month jail term along with a fine.
The state election commission is yet to announce the dates for the rural polls but the process of elections has to be completed by March.
To ensure that the candidates contesting the rural polls furnish correct information, the state government has amended the existing Odisha Panchayat Laws. Following a nod from Governor Ganishilal, the law department has promulgated an ordinance in this regard.
According to the ordinance: “A candidate who himself or through his propose, with intent to be elected in an election, gives false information which he knows or has reasons to believe to be false or conceals any information in his nomination paper or his affidavit… shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.”
The fine amount is yet to be decided.
The candidates contesting the elections for sarpanch, Samiti members, nominees of Zila Parishad members, will have to mandatory submit the complete profile information while filing their nomination papers.
“Leaders of rural bodies are entrusted with several assignments, including disaster management. If they don’t share their information correctly, it’s likely to create a serious problem during the execution of different programmes. That’s the reason, the government is insisting that the information they
submit in their affidavits is correct,” a senior official said.
In another development, the Panchayati Raj department has come out with a notification for the reservation of seats for the posts of Zilla Parishad’s president across the state. At least 50 per seat will be reserved for women candidates for Zila Parishad (ZP) president.
While the ZP president posts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Boudh, Bhadrak, Jajpur have been reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category, the ZP president posts for Kandhamal, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Rayagada, and Sundergarh districts have been reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.
The other 10 districts’ ZP posts will be earmarked for the unreserved category. The department has sought public opinion on the notification and asked people to submit their opinion and objections by January 3, 2022.