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Salient Features of Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1947

The Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1947 is Act 26 of 1947 passed by the United Province Legislative Assembly on June 5, 1947 and received approval from the Governor General of Dominion India on December 7, 1947 , which aims to establish and develop autonomous local government in Uttar Pradesh and to provide better spatial management and development.The law contains 119 sections in total.

To ensure the devolution of democracy and the overall development of villages, Article 40 is enshrined in the Indian constitution.

The Panchayat Raj Act 1947 authorizes a village panchayat to collect any taxes or levies paid for the placement, maintenance and improvement of schools and hospitals and to account for accounts and other functions assigned to the state government.

Section 1 provides that the Act will extend throughout Uttar Pradesh.

The various salient features of this Act are as follows:

  1. Establishment of Gram Sabha

    This initiative provides for the establishment of a Gram Sabha village or village group for the development of that village or village group.

    Section 2 (g) of the Act defines Gram Sabha. It means a body established under Section 3, which includes people registered in the election rows relating to a village in the Gram Panchayat area.

    Section 243 (b) of the Constitution of India defines Gram Sabha as a body, consisting of persons registered in the election rows relating to the village located in the panchayat area at the district level.

    Section 3 provides that the State Government shall establish a Gram Sabha village or village group with a nominal name. When the Gram Sabha was formed by a group of villages, the name of the most populous village would be called the name Gram Sabha. The purpose of the establishment of the Gram Sabha was to develop a village or village group.

    Functions Of The Gram Sabha - Section 11 (5):
    1. Volunteer mobilization and donations for social welfare programs.
    2. Identify beneficiaries of the implementation of community-based development programs.
    3. Provide assistance with the implementation of development programs in the village.
       
  2. Establishment of Gram Panychayat

    The law provides for the establishment of the Gram Panchayat.

    Section 2 (h) of the Act defines Gram Panchayat. It means that the Gram Panchayat is made as an unfermented Section 12 of the U.P. Panchayat Raj Act, 1947. Basically a body formed for the purpose of managing the affairs of Gram Sabha.

    Section 12 (1) provides that the Gram Panchayar is located throughout the Panchayat area, named after the Panchayat area.

    The constitution of Gram Panchayat will not be announced unless Pradhan and at least two-thirds of the members of the Gram Panchayat are elected.

    Section 15 sets out its functions, some of which are:
    1. To promote and develop agriculture and agriculture.
    2. Development of plains and pastures.
    3. Assisting Government in Land Development.
    4. Manage and assist with the distribution of water from small irrigation projects.
    5. Promotion of dairying, chicken piggery etc.
    6. Construction of fisheries in the valleys.
       
  3. Panchayat Duration

    Section 12 (3) provides that the term of the Gram Panchayat shall be five years from the date of its first meeting and shall no longer be subject to repeal under Section 95 (1) (f).
    Election to build Gram Panchayat will be finalized:
    1. Before the expiry of the five-year term; or
    2. before the expiry of the period of six months from the date of its dissolution.

      Where the remaining time spent by Gram Panchayat before the expiration of its term will only continue for the remaining time of Gram Panchayat which would have continued if it had not been so spent.
       
  4. Pradhan Office

    The law provides for the Pradhan of Gram Panchayat to be its Chairman.
    Section 11-B -The Pradhan of Gram Panchayat shall be selected by the person registered in the constituency rows of the Panchayat area among them.
    In any general election of Gram Panchayat, Pradhan is not elected, and less than two-thirds of the full member of the Gram Panchayat, State Government or an officer authorize by it may, by order, be nominate:
    1. The Management Committee which contains such numbers of persons eligible for election as members of the Gram Panchayat, as it may deem fit, or
    2. An Administrator
    In Safi-Uddin v. A.D.J, 1998 R.D.109, it was argued that Pradhan's election could be questioned on the grounds that the candidate had produced a fraudulent document for the seat.

    Section 11-B (6) provides that the term of office of Pradhan shall coincide with the term of Gram Panchayat.

    Pradhan and other members of the Gram Panchayat will receive similar benefits as may be prescribed. The Act provides for reservation of offices of Pradhan for the Scheduled Caste,Scheduled Tribe and Backward Classes.
     
  5. Reservation for Women

    Section 11-A (4) provides that not less than a third of the number of offices of Pradhans including the number of offices reserved in Pradhan under subsection (3), as the case may be, shall be reserved for women.
These are five salient features of U.P. Panchayat Raj Act,1947. Elections to the Panchayats in most states are being held regularly.On practical level, people are illiterate in India and they are actually not aware of these novel features. The Panchayats are dominated by effluents in some parts of the country. The 3 tiers of the Panchayati Raj have still very limited financial powers and their viability is entirely dependent upon the political will of the states.

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