Male relatives take oath in place of elected women panchayat members; official suspended

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Male relatives of newly-elected panchayat office-bearers were administered oath of office in their place in few villages of Madhya Pradesh, reported PTI on Saturday.

The incidents took place in villages of Sagar and Damoh districts on Thursday. Videos of the swearing-in ceremonies have been widely shared on social media.

A woman belonging to scheduled caste was elected as the sarpanch of Gaisabad Panchayat of Hatta block in Damoh, reported The Quint. Eleven other women were also elected as members of the panchayat in the elections in the panchayat.

In Sagar’s Jaisinagar village, 10 women were elected to the panchayat.

On Friday, Sagar panchayat chief executive officer suspended Jaisinagar Village Panchayat Secretary Asharam Sahu for administering oaths to the male relatives.

Sahu told reporters that the male members of the family were allowed to take oath because the elected office-bearers sent their relatives for the swearing-in ceremony despite repeated instructions to attend the event.

In Damoh, District Collector S Krishna Chaitanya has sought reports on the incidents from panchayat chief executive officers of Gaisabad and Piparia Kirau villages.

Chaitanya said action will taken against the panchayat secretaries after receiving the report.

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