- To have a more democratic form of governance, the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts were introduced.
- These Amendment acts played a major role in decentralizing power in India by transferring power from the central and state governments to the local bodies.
- The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts came into force on 24th April 1993 and 1st June 1993, respectively.
- This amendment brought the State Governments under the constitutional obligation to adopt the new system of Panchayati Raj.
- The 11th schedule was added to the Constitution of India, in 1950 through this amendment which contained 29 subject matters of the Panchayats.
- This act also added Part IX to the COI which contained provisions from Articles 243 to 243 O.
- The act does not apply to Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, as well as certain other areas. These areas include:
- The scheduled areas and tribal areas in the states.
- The hill areas of Manipur with district councils.
- The Darjeeling district of West Bengal with the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
- However, subject to the exceptions and modifications specified by the Parliament, the provisions of this Part may be extended to scheduled areas and tribal areas.
Salient Features of the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992
Gram Sabhas are the basic units of the democratic system which consists of the people registered in the electoral rolls of the village within the area of the Panchayat.
As per Article 243B of the COI, there shall be constituted in every State, Panchayats at the village, intermediate, and district levels. However, Panchayats at the intermediate level may not be constituted in a State having a population not exceeding twenty lakhs.
Election of Members and Chairpersons
- The members of Panchayats at the village, intermediate, and district levels shall be elected directly by the people.
- The chairman of the Panchayat at the intermediate and district level shall be elected indirectly from amongst the elected members thereof.
- The conduct of elections to the Panchayats shall also be handled by the State election commission.
Reservation of Seats
- Seats shall be reserved for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels in proportion to their population.
- One-third of the positions in all panchayat institutions are reserved for women.
Duration of Panchayat
As per Article 243E of the COI, 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.
Powers and Functions of Panchayats
- The powers and functions of the Panchayats are endowed by the State legislature.
- The Panchayats prepare a plan for economic development and social justice for the people of the Panchayats.
- It implements the scheme of the Central and State governments for the betterment of the people at the ground level.
- Panchayats have the power to enhance employment facilities and undertake development activities in the area.
Bar to Interference by Courts in Electoral Matters
- The act prohibits courts from interfering in panchayat elections.
- It also states that no election to a panchayat may be challenged unless accompanied by an election petition filed with the appropriate authority and in the manner prescribed by the state legislature.
74th Amendment Act, 1992
- The act granted municipalities constitutional status. It has brought them under the purview of the Constitution’s justiciable provisions.
- This act added Part IX-A to the COI which contained provisions from Articles 243P to 243ZG.
- It also added a 12th schedule to the COI containing 18 functional items which are to be placed within the purview of municipalities.
Salient Features of the 74th Amendment Act, 1992
- Article 243Q of the COI deals with the Constitution of Municipalities i.e., Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Council, and Municipal Corporation.
- Article 243R deals with the Composition of Municipalities; it states that all of its members are directly elected by the people of the Municipal area which is divided into territorial constituencies known as wards.
- Article 243S talks about the constitution and composition of ward committees consisting of wards and members of wards who represent that ward in the Municipality.
- Article 243 T deals with the reservation of seats in every Municipality. It states that –
- Reservation of seats for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes is provided in every municipality in proportion to their population.
- Provision for reservation of 1/3rd of the total number of seats is also provided for women.
- The State legislature has been empowered to make any provision for reservation in the municipality at any level in favor of the backward class.
- Article 243U deals with the duration of Municipalities. It states that –
- Municipalities have been provided with a five-year term of office at every level. It can however be dissolved before the completion of its term.
- A municipality, if elected after the dissolution of the municipality, shall continue for the remaining period for which the dissolved municipality would have continued had it not been dissolved.
- Article 243V talks about the grounds for disqualification of members of the Municipality. It states that a person shall be disqualified on the following grounds:
- If he is disqualified under any law for the time being in force for elections to the legislature of the state concerned; or
- If he is disqualified under any law made by the State legislature.
- However, no person shall be disqualified because he is less than 25 years of age if he has attained the age of 21 years.
- Article 243W deals with the powers, authorities, and responsibilities of municipalities including urban planning, financial and social development, and so on.
- Article 243X states that the COI has left it open to the Legislature of a State to specify by law matters relating to the imposition of taxes.
- Article 243Y provides for the constitution of the Finance Commission which will give its opinion on the distribution of finances between the State and the municipality and will determine the aid subsidies.
- Article 243ZA provides for the establishment of a State Election Commission, independent of the Election Commission of India, which conducts elections for every Municipal Corporation for a term of 5 years.
- Article 243ZC says that provisions of part IXA do not apply to Scheduled Areas referred to in Article 244.
- These include Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. It is also not applicable to the area under Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
- Article 243 ZE says that there will be a Metropolitan Planning Committee in every Metropolitan region to set up a draft improvement plan for the Metropolitan region overall.
- A Metropolitan area is an area having a population of 10 lakh or more, in one or more districts, and consisting of two or more municipalities or panchayats or other contiguous areas.
Bar to Interference by Courts in Electoral Matters
- The act prohibits courts from interfering in municipality elections.
- It also states that no election to a municipality may be challenged unless accompanied by an election petition filed with the appropriate authority and in the manner prescribed by the state legislature.