New Delhi: In a case of discrimination
against the differently abled, a visually impaired man`s
nomination for Odisha Panchayat polls was rejected as he had
put his thumb impression instead of signature on the papers,
prompting the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities
to seek the intervention of the Election Commission.
Visually impaired Golak Gauda was not even allowed to
file nomination papers due to his disability, prompting the
Chief Commissioner to intervene.
Gauda submitted his papers, but his nomination was
rejected on the grounds that he had put his thumb impression
instead of signing the document.
When the incident was brought to the notice of Chief
Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities P K Pincha, he
approached the EC seeking its intervention so that no persons
with visual impairment or other disabilities are denied their
right to contest polls.
On Pincha`s directions, Deputy Chief Commissioner T D
Dhariyal wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner S Y
Quraishi seeking to instruct election officers not to reject
nominations of the disabled.
Gauda had submitted his nomination for the Panchayat
election last month after the intervention of the Commissioner
for Persons with Disabilities but was rejected on the ground
of his visual impairment, Dhariyal said.
"The BDO-cum-Election Officer of Sanakhemundi block is
reported to have informed the State Commissioner that `reading
and writing in Odia` is one of the conditions to contest in
"It is stated that since persons with visual impairment
read and write in Braille or with the help of a screen reading
software and devices like scanner, rejection of the nomination
of a person with blindness on the ground that she/he has put
thumb impression on the nomination paper prima-facie amounts
to denying her/his the right to contest election without valid
reason," Dhariyal wrote in his letter.
He also asked the Chief Election Commissioner to take
appropriate action to undo the deprivation of the right to
contest the elections in respect of Gouda.