The Manipur Panchayati Raj Act 1994 came into force on 23rd October, 1994. The act is in consonance with 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 in Indian Constitution effected from 22.04.1993. Act was legislated to constitute and organise Panchayats as units of local self- Government in the rural areas of Manipur, further there shall be a two tier Panchayati Raj system in the State administered by elected bodies at Gram and district level with enhanced participation of people. The Act extends to entire Manipur State except the areas where Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971 (Manipur Act 76 of 1971) or the Manipur (Village Authorities in Hill Areas) Act 1956 (Manipur Act 80 of 1956) extends, or areas which are included in a municipality or Cantonment under Cantonment Act, 1924.
Under the Act there shall be a Gram sabha and a Gram Panchayat. A person whose name is included in electoral roll shall be a member of Gram sabha provided he is a citizen of India, is of sound mind and is qualified to cast vote. As soon as a person ceases to reside within a particular Gram sabha he shall cease to be a member of the same. Gram Sabha shall be headed by Pradhan and up-Pradhan, Pradhan here shall mean Pradhan of Gram Panchayat elected under section 21 of the Act. The Gram sabha shall meet once in every six months and one sixth members present shall form quorum. Gram sabha shall work in furtherance of initiating developmental works, adult education; promote unity and harmony and other matters prescribed under section 11 of the Act.
Under the Act there shall be a Gram Panchayat headed by Pradhan and Up-Pradhan elected for a term of five years after notification in official gazette. The number of members in a Gram Panchayat shall be determined in proportion to village population, ordinarily there shall be one member representing every 350 person residing in a village. There shall be reservation for members of Gram Panchayat for women and people from socially backward classes. Gram Panchayat shall be a body corporate having common seal and perpetual succession under section 14 of the Act. All the members of village whose names shall reflect in electoral roll shall vote in the lections of Gram Panchayat.
Pradhan and Up-Pradhan shall administer, execute and transact business in meetings and shall also be responsible for financial and executive functions under section 28 of the Act. The Gram Panchayat shall meet atleast once in every two months or whenever a meeting is called upon by Pradhan. A seven day notice shall be given in case of general meeting and three day notice shall be given in case of special meeting under section 32 sub clause (3) of the Act. Minutes of meeting shall be recorded in a book maintained for the purpose and Pradhan, Up-Pradhan or any other members presiding the meeting shall sign the same at the end of the meeting. For a meeting to be convened there shall be a minimum of one half of total members present otherwise meeting shall be adjourned by the presiding officer. All the meetings of Gram panchayat should be headed by Pradhan in his absence by Up-Pradhan or in absence of both of these by any other member elected to preside such meeting.
The Gram Panchayat shall perform functions as per section 35 of the Act. The functions of the Gram Panchayat shall be as that of state i.e. to look into overall welfare and administration of the Panchayat. Also the Government after notification in official gazette shall assign functions to Gram Panchayat in matters relating to forests, waste lands, land revenue etc. The Gram sabha under the Act has power to appoint vigilance committee under section 12 while gram Panchayat has power to appoint Standing Committee when ever required.
For every Gram Panchayat there shall be a Gram Panchayat Fund. The gram Panchayat shall have power to impose taxes as per section 40. Gram Panchayat shall every year formulate a budget and submit it to Zila Parishad. It shall also maintain accounts and audit.
Apart from Gram Panchayat there shall be a Zila Parishad which shall be a body corporate constituting directly elected members, members of Lok Sabha ad legislative assemblies and ten percent of Pradhan of Gram Panchayat. There shall also be reservation for people falling under special category. Zila Parishad shall be constituted for a perid of five years and shall be headed by Adhakshya and Up Adhakshya elected from amongst the members of Zila Parishad. The Zila Parishad shall perform innumerable functions pertaining to social welfare and administration under section 61.The Zila Parishad shall have a standing committe, a Zila Parishad fund and shall also have power of taxation. They shall maintain proper accounts. Apart from this the Zila Parishad shall have a staff under section 75 of the Act headed by Chief Executive Office appointed by Government who shall look into and manage affairs of the Zila
The Government in every district shall constitute District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by the Zilla Parishad, Gram Panchayats, Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Council and Municipal Corporation in the district and to prepare a draft development plan for the district. It shall consist of the heads representing Zilla Parishad, Gram Panchayats, Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Council and Municipal Corporation along with members of Lok Sabha, Chairman of local cooperative banks and such other members as given under section 96 of the Act. District Planning Committee shall preparedraft development plan which shall include the common interest of zila parishad, municipalities, gram panchyat and sabha.
The Governor from time to time shall constitutein every five years a Finance Commission to review the financial position of the Zilla Parishads and Gram Panchayats and to make recommendations to the Government in matters relating to taxes, tolls, grants in aid etc.
Thus we can conclude that The Manipur Panchayati Raj Act is a comprehensive Act under which a social responsibility of proper administration is casted on Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, Zila parishad and District Planning Committee, the members of which work on the Constitutional principle to the people, by the people and for the people.
by Vibhuti Nakta.