Soren government finalises much-awaited PESA rules in Jharkhand
Panchayat (Extension of Schedule Area) Act, 1996, was legislated by the Parliament to grant powers and autonomy to the gram sabhas in various fields in the scheduled areas.
Panchayati Raj department of the Jharkhand government has finalised the draft of the much-awaited rules for implementation of Panchayat (Extension of Schedule Area) Act, 1996.
An official familiar with the development said the new rules, divided into 17 chapters and 36 sections, are likely to be sent to the cabinet for approval soon.
In Jharkhand, 13 of the 23 districts are tribal-dominated and categorised as districts under the fifth schedule of the Constitution. PESA Act was legislated by the Parliament to grant powers and autonomy to the gram sabhas in various fields in the scheduled areas.
However, the Act could not be implemented in totality due to want of PESA rules, which were to be formulated by respective state governments.
“The salient features of the rules include provisions providing power to traditional heads to preside over Gram Sabha meetings, giving power to Gram Sabha to the limit that no land related deal can be possible without its consent, making it mandatory for the police to inform Gram Sabha within 48 hours in case it arrest anyone from the village. According to PESA rules, Gram Sabha will have right to restore tribal land in case anyone has taken it fraudulently or in violation of law. The rule provides appeal of decision given by Gram Sabha before higher traditional judicial body or high court,” a senior official said.
“Other provisions include power to establish fund, select beneficiaries under government Article 275-1 of Constitution, impose fines from ₹10 to ₹1,000 in case of violation of some of the IPC sections including 160 (rioting), 265 (using wrong weight for weighing anything in the market), 277 (polluting water bodies), 289 (hurting animals), 249 (playing vulgar song and being involved in vulgar activities), 374 (forcing anyone to work), 298 (hurting religious sentiment), 379 (theft), 417 (fraud), 429 (hurting animal grievously), 500 (defamation) and 504 (breach of peace) besides others,” the official added.
Panchayati Raj department director Neha Oraon said the draft was finalised taking suggestions from all stakeholders.
“Suggestions not in accordance with High Court or Supreme Court rulings were not accepted while other suggestions were incorporated in the draft,” she said.
Oraon said, “The sources used to prepare draft include Jharkhand Panchayati Raj Act (JPRA), fourth section of PESA Act, 2009, and draft proposal sent by the Centre to states for a guideline for formulation of draft,” she said.
Oraon said the draft would be notified after cabinet approval.