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73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 – Panchayats – Indian Polity Notes

Panchayats are rural local self government institutions in India. It is grass-root level democratic institutions present in all village in India. Democratic Decentralisation undertaken under 73rd Amendment Act, granted constitutional status to Panchayats who have existed in this country since time immemorial. The act also entrusted, the Panchayats the responsibility of rural development.

Evolution of Panchayati Raj:

The institution of Panchayats is not new to India, it had existed in India since time immemorial. Starting from Sabha, Samitis of ancient India to Panchayats of modern day India, the institution has sustained.

Mahatma Gandhi ji believed that for rural development, it is imperative to empower and strengthen the institution of Panchayats. Thus, it as incorporated as article 40 which gives responsibility upon states to take steps to organise village panchayats and grant them with such powers & authority necessary to enable them to function as units of self government.

Idea of Democratic Decentralisation was first mooted by Balwant Rai G Mehta Committee of 1957. It recommended three tier system at village, block and district level panchayati raj institutions.

First panchayat based on this idea was established in Nagaur district of Rajasthan in 1959.

Ashok Mehta Committee on Panchayati Raj of 1977 in its report suggested two tier system with other provisions like reservation for SC/ST, regular social audit, representation of political parties etc.

Finally, a committee was formed under noted jurist Mr. L M Singhvi in 1986. It recommended constitutional status to Panchayats. Committee further recommended that constitutional provisions shall be added to ensure regular, free and fair elections to Panchayats. This report formed basis upon which, the 73rd Amendment Act was passed.

Constitutional Provisions:

Article Description 
Article 243Definition of Panchayat 
Article 243 AGram Sabha
Article 243 BConstitution of Panchayats
Article 243 CComposition 
Article 243 DSeats reserved for
Article 243 EDuration of Panchayat 
Article 243 FDisqualification of members 
Article 243 GPowers & responsibilities 
Article 243 HPower to impose taxes 
Article 243 IState Finance Commission 
Article 243 JAudit of accounts of Panchayat 
Article 243 KElections to Panchayats 
Article 243 LApplication to union territories 
Article 243 MPart not to apply to certain parts
Article 243 NContinuance of existing laws w.r.t Panchayats 
Article 243 OProhibition of courts in election matters of Panchayat.

Compulsory Provisions:

The 73rd Amendment Act 1992 added Part-IX to constitution. It has list of 29 functions for Panchayats. Some of these provisions are compulsory while other are voluntary, which can be decided by state legislature at their discretion.


  • Constitution of Gram Sabha
  • Establishment of three tier Panchayti Raj Structure at District, Block and Village level.
  • All posts to be filled by direct elections.
  • Minimum age to for Panchayat Elections to be 21 years.
  • Election of Chairman (at district level and Block level), to be conducted by indirect election.
  • Reservation for SC/ST in proportion to their population.
  • One third reservation for women.
  • Establishment of state election commission to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  • Tenure of Panchayati Raj Institutions to be 5 years. If dissolved earlier, fresh elections shall be called within 6 months.
  • State Finance Commission shall be established once every 5 years.

Voluntary Provisions:

Voluntary Provisions are:

  • Giving representation to Members of Parliament and State legislature in theses bodies.
  • Reservation for Backward classes 
  • Panchayati Raj Institutions should be given financial powers in relation to taxes, levy fees etc.
  • Efforts shall be made to make Panchayati Raj Institutions autonomous bodies.

Three Tier Structure:


It operates at village level, there may be one gram panchayat for a village or common gram panchayat for more than one villages. 

It has two institutions:

  • Gram Sabha: It is only institution of “direct democracy”.
  • Gram Panchayat: It is led by Sarpach/Gram Panchayat President. Members of Gram Panchayat are elected by direct elections. The number of members is fixed based on village population.
  1. PANCHYAT SAMITI: It is second tier of Panchayati Raj Institutions. It acts as connecting link between Gram Panchayats and Zilla Parishad. It’s composition depends upon the population in its region. Some of its members are directly elected while Sarpanchs of Gram Panchayats are ex-officio members of Panchayat Samiti. Not all Sarpanchs are members of Panchayat Samiti at the same time.
  2. Zilla Parishad: Upper tier of Panchayati Raj Institutions. It has some directly elected members based on population and chairpersons of Panchayat Samiti are ex-officio members. Members of Parliament & State Legislature form the district are also nominated as members of Zilla Parishad.

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