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THE CONSTITUTION (SEVENTY-THIRD AMENDMENT) ACT, 1992

Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution
      (Seventy-second Amendment) Bill, 1991 which was enacted as
       the  Constitution  (Seventy-third   Amendment) Act,  1992

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

Though  the  Panchayati Raj Institutions have been in existence for  a
long  time, it has been observed that these institutions have not been
able  to  acquire  the  status and dignity of  viable  and   responsive
people's  bodies  due  to  a number of reasons  including   absence  of
regular    elections,     prolonged      supersessions,    insufficient
representation  of  weaker sections like Scheduled  Castes,  Scheduled
Tribes  and  women,  inadequate  devolution  of  powers   and  lack  of
financial resources.

2.   Article  40  of  the   Constitution which  enshrines  one  of  the
Directive  Principles  of State Policy lays down that the State  shall
take  steps  to organise village panchayats and endow them  with  such
powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as
units  of self-government.  In the light of the experience in the last
forty years and in view of the short-comings which have been observed,
it  is considered that there is an imperative need to enshrine in  the
Constitution  certain  basic and essential features of Panchayati  Raj
Institutions to impart certainty, continuity and strength to them.

3.   Accordingly,  it  is   proposed  to add a  new  Part  relating  to
Panchayats in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram
Sabha  in a village or group of villages;  constitution of  Panchayats
at  village and other level or levels;  direct elections to all  seats
in  Panchayats  at the village and intermediate level, if any, and  to
the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels;  reservation
of  seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in  proportion
to  their  population  for  membership of  Panchayats  and   office  of
Chairpersons  in  Panchayats at each level;  reservation of  not   less
than  one-third of the seats for women;  fixing tenure of 5 years  for
Panchayats  and  holding elections within a period of 6 months in  the
event  of  supersession  of   any  Panchayat;    disqualifications  for
membership  of  Panchayats;   devolution by the State   Legislature  of
powers  and  responsibilities upon the Panchayats with respect to  the
preparation  of plans for economic developments and social justice and
for  the implementation of development schemes;  sound finance of  the
Panchayats  by  securing  authorisation from  State  Legislatures   for
grants-in-aid  to  the  Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund  of   the
State,  as also assignment to, or appropriation by, the Panchayats  of
the  revenues of designated taxes, duties, tolls and fees;  setting up
of  a Finance Commission within one year of the proposed amendment and
thereafter  every  5  years  to   review  the   financial  position  of
Panchayats;   auditing of accounts of the Panchayats;  powers of State
Legislatures  to  make  provisions  with   respect  to   elections   to
Panchayats  under  the superintendence, direction and control  of  the
chief  electoral officer of the State;  application of the  provisions
of  the said Part to Union territories;  excluding certain States  and
areas  from  the  application  of the provisions  of  the   said  Part;
continuance  of  existing laws and Panchayats until one year from  the
commencement  of  the proposed amendment and barring  interference  by
courts in electoral matters relating to Panchayats.

4.  The Bill seeks to achieve the aforesaid objectives.

NEW DELHI; G. VENKAT SWAMY.

The 10th September, 1991.

  THE CONSTITUTION (SEVENTY-THIRD AMENDMENT) ACT, 1992

[20th April, 1993.]

An Act further to amend the Constitution of India.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-third Year of the Republic of
India as follows:-

1.   Short  title  and commencement.-(1) This Act may be  called  the
Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992.

(2)  It  shall  come  into  force on  such  date_680  as  the  Central
Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

2.   Insertion  of new Part IX.- After Part VIII of the  Constitution,
the following Part shall be inserted, namely:-

`PART IX
THE PANCHAYATS
243. Definitions.- In this Part, unless the context otherwise
requires,-

(a) "district" means a district in a State;

(b) "Gram Sabha" means a body consisting of persons registered in
the electoral rolls relating to a village comprised within the area of
Panchayat at the village level;

(c)  "Intermediate  level"  means   a level  between  the  village  and
district  levels  specified  by  the Governor of  a  State   by  public
notification  to  be the intermediate level for the purposes  of  this
Part;

(d)  "Panchayat"  means  an institution (by whatever name  called)  of
self-government constituted under article 243B, for the rural areas;

(e) "Panchayat area" means the territorial area of a Panchayat;

(f)  "population"  means  the population as ascertained  at  the  last
preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published;

(g)  "village"  means  a village specified by the Governor  by  public
notification  to  be  a  village for the purposes  of  this   Part  and
includes a group of villages so specified.

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  in-
termediate level may not be constituted in a State having a population
not exceeding twenty lakhs.

243C.   Composition  of Panchayats.- (1) Subject to the provisions  of
this  Part,  the Legislature of a State may, by law,  make  provisions
with respect to the composition of Pancayats:

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.

(2)  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 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.

(3)  The  Legislature  of  a State may, by law, provide  for  the  re-
presentation-

(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 Pancayats 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 the 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-

(i)  a  Panchayat area at the intermediate level, in Panchayat at  the
intermediate level;

(ii) a Panchayat area at the district level, in Panchayat at the
district level.

(4)  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.

(5) 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,

in  every Panchayat and the number of seats of reserved shall bear, as
nearly  as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats to
be  filled  by direct election in that Panchayat as the population  of
the Scheduled Castes in that Panchayat area or of the Scheduled Tribes
in  that Panchayat area bears to the total population of that area and
such  seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in
a Panchayat.

(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.

(4)  The offices of the Chairpersons in the Panchayats at the  village
or  any  other level shall be reserved for the Scheduled  Castes,  the
Scheduled  Tribes  and  women in such manner as the Legislature  of   a
State may, by law, provide:

Provided  that the number of offices of Chairpersons reserved for  the
Scheduled  Castes  and the Scheduled Tribes in the Panchayats at  each
level  in  any  State  shall  bear, as nearly  as  may   be,  the  same
proportion  to  the total number of such offices in the Panchayats  at
each  level as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State  or
of  the Scheduled Tribes in the State bears to the total population of
the State:

Provided  further that not less than one-third of the total number  of
offices  of  Chairpersons  in the Panchayats at each  level   shall  be
reserved for women:

Provided  also  that the number of offices reserved under this  clause
shall be allotted by rotation to different Panchayats at each level.

(5)  The  reservation  of  seats under clauses (1)  and  (2)  and  the
reservation of offices of Chairpersons (other than the reservation for
women)  under clause (4) shall cease to have effect on the  expiration
of the period specified in article 334.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall prevent the Legislature of a State from
making  any  provision  for reservation of seats in any  Panchayat   or
offices  of  Chairpersons in the Panchayats at any level in favour  of
backward class of citizens.

243E.   Duration  of  Panchayats, etc.- (1)  Every  Panchayat,  unless
sooner  dissolved  under  any law for the time being in  force,   shall
continue  for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting
and no longer.

(2) No amendment of any law for the time being in force shall have the
effect  of  causing dissolution of a Panchayat at any level, which  is
functioning  immediately before such amendment, till the expiration of
its duration specified in clause (1).

(3) An election to constitute a Panchayat shall be completed-

(a) before the expiry of its duration specified in clause (1);

(b)  before the expiration of a period of six months from the date of
its dissolution:

Provided  that  where  the  remainder   of the  period  for  which  the
dissolved  Panchayat would have continued is less than six months,  it
shall  not  be  necessary to hold any election under this  clause   for
constituting the Panchayat for such period.

(4) A Panchayat constituted upon the dissolution of a Panchayat before
the  expiration of its duration shall continue only for the  remainder
of  the period for which the dissolved Panchayat would have  continued
under clause (1) had it not been so dissolved.

243F.   Disqualifications  for   membership.-(1)  A  person  shall   be
disqualified  for  being  chosen  as, and for being,  a   member  of  a
Panchayat-

(a) if he is so disqualified by or under any law for the time being in
force  for  the purposes of elections to the Legislature of the  State
concerned:

Provided that no person shall be disqualified on the ground that he is
less  than  twenty-five  years of age, if he has attained the age of
twenty-one years;

(b)  if  he  is  so  disqualified by or under  any  law  made  by  the
Legislature of the State.

(2)  If any question arises as to whether a member of a Panchayat  has
become  subject  to any of the disqualifications mentioned  in  clause
(1), the question shall be referred for the decision of such authority
and in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.

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) authorise a Panchayat to levy, collect and appropriate such taxes,
duties, tolls and fees in accordance with such procedure and subject
to such limits;

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

(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 therefrom,

as may be specified in the law.

243-I.   Constitution  of  Finance    Commission  to  review  financial
position.-(1)  The Governor of a State shall, as soon as may be within
one  year  from  the commencement of the  Constitution   (Seventy-third
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
such proceeds;

(ii)  the determination of the taxes, duties, tolls and fees which may
be assigned to, or appropriated by, the Panchayat;

(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.   Audit  of accounts of Panchayats.- The Legislature of a  State
may,  by  law,  make  provisions with respect to  the   maintenance  of
accounts by the Panchayats and the auditing of such accounts.

243K.  Elections to the Panchayats.-(1) The superintendence, direction
and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct
of,  all  elections  to  the Panchayats shall be  vested  in   a  State
Election  Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be
appointed by the Governor.

(2)  Subject to the provisions of any law made by the Legislature of a
State,  the  conditions of service and tenure of office of  the  State
Election  Commissioner  shall be such as the Governor may by rule  de-
termine:

Provided  that  the State Election Commissioner shall not  be  removed
from  his  office except in like manner and on the like grounds  as  a
Judge of a High Court and the conditions of service of the State Elec-
tion  Commissioner  shall not be varied to his disadvantage after  his
appointment.

(3)  The  Governor  of a State shall, when so requested by  the  State
Election  Commission, make available to the State Election  Commission
such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions con-
ferred on the State Election Commission by clause (1).

(4) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of
a  State  may, by law, make provision with respect to all matters  re-
lating to, or in connection with, elections to the Panchayats.

243L.   Application to Union territories.-The provisions of this  Part
shall  apply to the Union territories and shall, in their  application
to a Union territory, have effect as if the references to the Governor
of a State were references to the Administrator of the Union territory
appointed  under article 239 and references to the Legislature or  the
Legislative  Assembly  of  a State were references, in relation  to   a
Union  territory  having a Legislative Assembly, to  that  Legislative
Assembly:

Provided  that the President may, by public notification, direct  that
the provisions of this Part shall apply to any Union territory or part
thereof subject to such exceptions and modifications as he may specify
in the notification.

243M.   Part  not to apply to certain areas.-(1) Nothing in this  Part
shall  apply to the Scheduled Areas referred to in clause (1), and the
tribal areas referred to in clause (2), of article 244.

(2) Nothing in this Part shall apply to-

(a) the States of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram;

(b) the Hill Areas in the State of Manipur for which District Councils
exist under any law for the time being in force.

(3) Nothing in this Part-

(a)  relating  to Panchayats at the district level shall apply to  the
hill  areas of the District of Darjeeling in the State of West  Bengal
for  which Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council exists under any law for the
time being in force;

(b)  shall  be  construed to affect the functions and  powers  of  the
Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council constituted under such law.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,-

(a) the Legislature of a State referred to in sub-clause (a) of clause
(2)  may, by law, extend this Part to that State, except the areas, if
any,  referred  to in clause (1), if the Legislative Assembly of  that
State  passes  a resolution to that effect by a majority of the  total
membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds
of the members of that House present and voting;

(b)  Parliament may, by law, extend the provisions of this Part to the
Scheduled Areas and the tribal areas referred to in clause (1) subject
to  such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in such law,
and  no  such  law  shall  be  deemed  to  be   an  amendment  of  this
Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

243N.   Continuance  of existing laws and   Panchayats.-Notwithstanding
anything in this Part, any provision of any law relating to Panchayats
in  force  in  a  State immediately before  the   commencement  of  the
Constitution   (Seventy-third   Amendment)  Act,     1992,   which   is
inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall continue to be in
force  until  amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or  other
competent  authority  or  until the expiration of one year  from   such
commencement, whichever is earlier:

Provided  that  all  the Panchayats existing immediately  before  such
commencement  shall  continue till the expiration of  their  duration,
unless  sooner dissolved by a resolution passed to that effect by  the
Legislative Assembly of that State or, in the case of a State having a
Legislative Council, by each House of the Legislature of that State.

243-O.   Bar  to  interference   by   courts  in  electoral   matters.-
Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,-

(a)  the  validity  of  any  law    relating  to  the  delimitation  of
constituencies  or the allotment of seats to such constituencies, made
or  purporting  to be made under article 243K, shall not be called  in
question in any court;

(b) no election to any Panchayat shall be called in question except by
an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as
is  provided  for  by or under any law made by the  Legislature   of  a
State.'.

Constitution,  after sub-clause (b), the following sub-clause shall be
inserted, namely:-

"(bb)  the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State
to  supplement  the  resources of the Panchayats in the State  on   the
basis  of  the recommendations made by the Finance Commission  of  the
State;".

Constitution, the following Schedule shall be added, namely:-

"ELEVENTH SCHEDULE

(Article 243G)

1.  Agriculture, including agricultural extension.

2.    Land   improvement,   implementation  of   land   reforms,   land
consolidation and soil conservation.

3.  Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development.

4.  Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry.

5.  Fisheries.

6.  Social forestry and farm forestry.

7.  Minor forest produce.

8.  Small scale industries, including food processing industries.

9.  Khadi, village and cottage industries.

10.  Rural housing.

11.  Drinking water.

12.  Fuel and fodder.

13.  Roads, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means  of
     communication.

14.  Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity.

15.  Non-conventional energy sources.

16.  Poverty alleviation programme.

17.  Education, including primary and secondary schools.

18.  Technical training and vocational education.

19.  Adult and non-formal education.

20.  Libraries.

21.  Cultural activities.

22.  Markets and fairs.

23.  Health  and  sanitation,   including  hospitals,  primary  health
     centres and dispensaries.

24.  Family welfare.

25.  Women and child development.

26.  Social welfare, including welfare of the handicapped and mentally
     retarded.

27.  Welfare  of  the  weaker sections, and  in  particular,  of  the
     Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

28.  Public distribution system.

29.  Maintenance of community assets.".


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