The Panchayats

The panchayat system is an age-old system in India. It is law making and decision-making body of a village. It had the functions of both today’s legislature and judiciary. It was earlier a place for dispute resolution. This article will focus on the part IX of the constitution

This part contains Art. 243A to Art.243O of the constitution of India. The Art.243 states” 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.”

This article defines district, Gram Sabha, intermediate level, Panchayat, Panchayat area, population and village. These are the terms that are often used in this part.

Gram Sabha of a village is like the Parliament of the country or nation[1]. Panchayats are constituted at village level, intermediaries at district level and accordingly. The panchayats at intermediary level do not exceed the population of 20 lacks[2]. The state legislature makes laws on the composition of panchayats, the persons chosen and about the chairperson of a Panchayat.  (Art.143C).

The reservation of seats in a panchayat is explained in the Art.243D. the duration of Panchayats is given in the Art.243E. the membership of a panchayat can be disqualified as according to the Art.243F. the responsibilities, authorities and powers of the panchayats are given the Art.243G. the panchayats have the power to impose taxes and collect funds as per Art.243H. the financial commission shall review the financial position of the Panchayats as in Art.243I. the legislature shall make laws to govern the audit of the accounts of the Panchayats according to Art.243J. the elections of the Panchayats shall be conducted as per the Art.243K. the application of the provisions of this Part to the Union territories are explained in the Art.243L. the provisions of this part will not apply to schedule areas and the states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and hill areas of Manipur and other areas as in Art.243M. Art.243N talks about continuance of existence laws and panchayats. The elections of Panchayats shall not be questionable in the court of law except the election petition presented to the authority as mentioned by the law made by the parliament.

[1] Art.243A of Indian Constitution.

[2] Art.243B of Indian Constitution.

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