Answer & Enrich Your Learning:
The passage of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 marks a new era in the federal democratic set up of the country and provides constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
The main features of the Act are:
- Establishment of a three-tier structure: Village Panchayat (Gram Panchayat); intermediate panchayat (Panchayat Samiti; and the district panchayat (Zila Parishad);
- Regular elections, every five years;
- Reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population;
- Not less than one-third reservation of seats for women at three different levels of PRIs;
- Establishment of State Finance Commissions to recommend measures to improve the finances of panchayats;
- Establishment of State Election Commissions to conduct election to the PRIs;
- Establishment of District Planning Committees to prepare development plans for the districts;
- Preparation of plans for economic development and social justice and their execution concerning 29 subjects listed in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution;
- Establishment of Grama Sabha (village assemblies) and their empowerment as a decision making body at the village level; and
- Rotation in accordance with the reservation of seats for women and the Scheduled Castes in the PRIs.
Powers and responsibilities
By the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been given such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function. It contains provisions for devolution of powers and responsibilities related to
- The preparation of plans for economic development and social justice; and
- The implementation of such schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them.
This amendment bars the interference by courts in the electoral matters of panchayats.
- The validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats to such constituencies cannot be questioned in any court.
- No election to any panchayat is to be questioned except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as provided by the state legislature.