Rural Administration and the 73rd Amendment

Panchayati Raj Institutions Part IX, with Articles 243 to 243O, deals with institutions of Panchayati Raj. Article 243 defines Panchayats to include Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, Panchayat samiti at the intermediate level and also at the district level. The Constitutional provisions relating to panchayats were as follows: 243A. Gram Sabha�A Gram Sabha may exercise such powers and perform such functions at the village level as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.

243B. Constitution of Panchayats

  1. There shall be constituted in every State, Panchayats at the village, intermediate and district levels in accordance with the provisions of this part.
  2. Notwithstanding anything in clause (1), Panchayats at the intermediate level may not be constituted in a State having a population not exceeding twenty lakhs. 243C. Composition of Panchayats: 1. The Legislature of a State may, by law, make provisions with respect to the composition of Panchayats provided that the ratio between the population of the territorial area of a Panchayat at any level and the number of seats in such Panchayat to be filled by election shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout the state.
  3. All the seats in a Panchayat shall be filled by persons chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the Panchayat area and, for this purpose, each Panchayat area shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout the panchayat area.
  4. The legislature of a State may, by law, provide for the representation

(a) of the Chairpersons of the Panchayats at the village level, in the Panchayats at the intermediate level or, in the case of a State not having Panchayats at the intermediate level, in the Panchayats at the district level;

(b) of the Chairpersons of the Panchayats at the intermediate level, in the Panchayats at the district level;

(c) of the members of the House of the People and members of the Legislative Assembly of the State representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly a Panchayat area at a level other than the village level, in such Panchayat;

(d) of the members of the Council of States and the members of the Legislative Council of the State, where they are registered as electors within a Panchayat area at the intermediate level, and at the district level.

  1. The Chairperson of a Panchayat and other members of a Panchayat whether or not chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the Panchayat area shall have the right to vote in the meetings of the Panchayats.
  2. The Chairperson of (a) a Panchayat at the village level shall be elected in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide; and (b) a Panchayat at the intermediate level or district level shall be elected by, and from amongst, the elected members thereof. 243D.

Reservation of Seats:

  1. Seats shall be reserved for: (a) the Scheduled Castes; and (b) the Scheduled Tribes. 2. Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes. 3. Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

243E-The term of Panchayats has to be five years unless dissolved earlier; the election for a new Panchayat to be completed within six months before the expiration of its normal term; no election of panchayats if there remains six months of their normal term. 243F. Deals with the disqualifications for membership (to be stated by law). 243G. Powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, endow the Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and such law may contain provisions for the devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats at the appropriate level, subject to such conditions as may be specified therein, with respect to:

(a) the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice;

(b) the implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them including those in relation to the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule. 243H. Powers to impose taxes by, and funds of, the Panchayats.

The Legislature of a State may, by law:

(a) authorize a Panchayat to levy, collect and appropriate such taxes, duties, tolls and fees in accordance with such procedure and limits laid down by the state legislature;

(b) assign to a Panchayat such taxes, duties, tools and fees levied and collected by the State Government for such purposes and subject to such conditions and limits specified;

(c) provide for making such grants-in-aid to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State; and

(d) provide for constitution of such Funds for crediting all moneys received, respectively, by or on behalf of the Panchayats and also for the withdrawal of such moneys there from, as may be specified in the law. 243I.

Constitution of Finance Commission to review financial position:

  1. The Governor of a State shall, as soon as possible, may be within one year from the commencement of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 and thereafter at the expiration of every fifth year, constitute a Finance Commission to review the financial position of the Panchayats and to make recommendations to the Governor as to: (a) the principles which should govern: (i) the distribution between the State and the Panchayats of the net proceeds of the taxes, duties, tolls, and fees leviable by the State, which may be divided, between them under this Part and the allocation between the Panchayats at all levels of their respective shares of much proceeds. (ii) the determination of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees which may be assigned to, or appropriated by, the Panchayats. (iii) the grants-in-aid to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State. (b) the measures needed to improve the financial position of the Panchayats; (c) any other matter referred to the Finance Commission by the Governor in the interests of sound finance of the Panchayats.
  2. The Legislature of a State may, by law, provide for the composition of the Commission, the qualifications which shall be requisite for appointment as members thereof and the manner in which they shall be selected.
  3. The Commission shall determine their procedure and shall have such powers in the performance of their functions as the Legislature of the State may, by law, confer on them.
  4. The Governor shall cause every recommendation made by the Commission under this article together with an explanatory memorandum as to the action taken thereon to be laid before the legislature of the State. 243J.

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