THE NEW SYSTEM OF PANCHAYATS AND MUNICIPALITIES
Article 40 says that the state shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such power and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self government.
On this basis, by 73rd and 74th Amendment Act 1992, part IX and part IX A were inserted in the Constitution.
Part IX relates to Panchayats, containing Article 243 to Article 243 O and part IX A relates to Municipalities, containing Article 243 P to 243 G.
SALIENT FEATURES OF NEW SYSTEM
Local government institutions in both rural and urban areas are an exclusive state subject under schedule VII so that union cannot enact any law to create rights and liabilities relating to these subjects. So the union has outlined the scheme which would be implemented by several states by making laws or amending their own existing laws to bring them in conformity with the provisions of the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts .These Amendments do not apply to J&K, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and NCT of Delhi.
Part IX of the constitution envisages a 3 tier system of panchayats:-
All the seats in Panchayat shall be filled by persons chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in Panchayats area. The electorate has been named Gram Sabha consisting of persons registered in the electoral rolls relating to a village comprised with in the area of a Panchayat.
The chairperson of each Panchayat shall be elected according to the law passed by the state and such law shall also provides for the representation of chairperson of village and intermediate Panchayats in the district Panchayat as well as the representation of the union and state legislature in the Panchayats above the village level.
RESERVATION OF SEATS
Article 243 D provides for the reservation of seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population.
Out of the seats so reserved not less than 1/3rd of the seats shall be reserved for women belonging to SCs and STs.
Not less than 1/3 of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women.
A state may by law make provisions for similar reservation of the offices of chairperson in the Panchayats at the village and other levels.
Reservation may also be made for the office of chairman in favour of BCs.
DURATION OF PANCHAYATS (243 E)
Panchayat will continue for 5 years from the date of its 1st meeting but it can be dissolved earlier as per state law.
Election must take place before the expiry of 5 years. In case of dissolution, whether 6 months have left; the next Panchayats shall continue for the remainder period. But if the remainder period is less than 6 months it shall not be necessary to hold the election.
All persons who are qualified to be chosen to state legislature shall be qualified for membership of the Panchayat but for it minimum age should be 21 years.
Any question to disqualification shall be referred to such as authority as state legislature may prescribe by law.
POWERS, AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PANCHAYATS [Art 243G]
The XI schedule thus, distributes the power between the state and Panchayat.
ARTICLE [243 H]
A state may by law authorize a Panchayat to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, tolls etc.
Grant in aid may also be given to Panchayats from Consolidated Fund of state.
PANCHAYAT FINANCE COMMISSION [Art 243 I]
The state government shall appoint a Finance commission afterwards every 5
years from the date( 25-4-1993) on which the 73rd Amendment Act came into force, to review the financial position of Panchayats and to make recommendation as to-
STATE ELECTION COMMISSION
Article 243 K Provides for the constitution of a State Election Commission to be appointed by the Governor, to superintend, direct and control of election of Panchayat including preparation of electoral rolls.
To ensure the independence of commission it is laid down that the state election commissioner can be removed only in the manner of a judge of a High court.
[ARTICLE 243 -O] BAR TO INTERFERE BY COURTS IN THE ELECTORAL MATTERS
Under article 329, courts will have no jurisdiction to examine the validity of a law, relating to determination of constituencies or the allotment of seats, made under Article 243 K.
MUNICIPALITIES AND PLANNING COMMITTEES
Some of the provision like reservation of seats, finance commission and election commission are similar to part IX.
This part gave birth to two types of bodies:-
Municipalities are of 3 types:-
COMPOSITION OF MUNICIPALITIES
Generally elected by direct election but state may by law provide for representation in a municipality of
1. Persons having special knowledge or experience,
2. Members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, legislative assembly and legislative council,
3. The chairperson of committees constituted under article 243S (5).
The chairperson will be elected in the manner provided by the legislature.
Ward committee:- it would be obligatory to constitute Ward committee for one or more wards within municipalities having population of 3 lakh or more. The state legislature will make provision with regard to its composition, territorial area and the manner in which the seats in award committee shall be filled.
RESERVATION OF SEATS FOR SCs AND STs, WOMEN CHAIRPERSON
DURATION OF MUNICIPALITIES
Municipality shall continue for 5 years from the date of its first meeting. But it may be dissolved earlier. But Article 243 Q further prescribes that before dissolution a reasonable opportunity of being heard must be given to it.
Most election must be completed before the expiry of 5 years term and in case of dissolution,(when more than 6 months are the remaining period). But if the remainder period is less than 6 months then it will not be necessary to hold the election.
QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
Article 243 V says all persons who are qualified to be chosen to state legislature will be qualified for being a member of municipality. But in this case also the minimum age is 21 years.
POWER, AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
This is according to the law made by state legislature. Article 243 W says that they may be given the responsibility of
- may be authorized to levy, collect taxes, duties, tolls etc.
- Grant in aid may be given to municipalities from Consolidated Fund of State.
The Finance Commission under Article 243I [for Panchayats] shall also review the position of municipalities and make recommendations as to-
ELECTION TO MUNICIPALITIES
State Election Commission under Article 243 K (of Panchayats) shall conduct, control, and supervise the election to municipalities.
BAR TO INTERFERE BY COURT
The court shall have no jurisdiction to examine the validity of a law relating to determination of constituencies or allotment of seats made under Article 243 ZA.
COMMITTEES FOR DISTRICT PLANNING
By 74th Amendment Act it is provided that apart from Municipalities, two committees shall be constituted.
The composition and manner of fulfilling seats are to be provided by state law. But it has been laid down that:-
The state legislature, by law, provide for the functioning of DPC and the manner in which a chairperson of DPC may be chosen.
The DPC shall prepare and forward the development plans to the state government.
In regard to MPC the state by law, may make provision for
This part IX A adds one more function to the duties of finance commission under Article 280 (appointed by President). On the basis of recommendation made by State Finance Commission, it would make recommendation in regard to the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of States to supplement the resources of municipalities.