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EXTRACTS FROM THE ORISSA PANCHAYAT SAMITI ACT, 1959*

1. PRELIMINARY
2. CONSTITUTION OF PANCHAYAT SAMITIS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
3. CONTROL
4. ELECTION DISPUTES
5. MISCELLANEOUS

CHAPTER I
PRELIMINARY

 

  1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

(a-1) “Director of Panchayat Samiti” (hereinafter referred to in this Act as Director) means the Director of Grama Panchayats appointed under the Orissa Grama Panchayats Act, 1964;

(b-1) “Election Commission” means the State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner appointed by the Governor under Article 243-K of the Constitution;

(b-2) “Finance Commission” means the Finance Commission constituted by the Governor under Article 243-I of the Constitution;

(d-1) “official” shall have reference to Government servants and the word “non-official” shall be construed accordingly;

(d-2) “ordinary resident in any area” with all its grammatical variations and cognate expressions shall have reference to a person whose name finds place in the electoral roll for the time being in force prepared under the Representation of People Act, 1950 in so far as the roll relates to such area;

(e-1) “Population” means population as ascertained in th last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published;

(f-1) ‘Samiti area’ or ‘area of the Samiti’ shall mean Block;

(f-2) “Scheduled Areas” means the Scheduled Areas as referred to in clause (1) of Article 244 of the Constitution;

CHAPTER III
CONSTITUTION OF PANCHAYAT SAMITIS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS

 

  1. (1) The Government shall, by notification, divide each district into such number of local areas as they deem fit. Each such area shall be known as a Block and be given such name as may be
    specified in the said notification.

Provided the Government may, while issuing a notification under sub-section (2), make such temporary orders or give such temporary directions as they consider necessary for the aforesaid purpose.

  1. (1) Every Block shall have a Samiti consisting of the following members, namely :-

Provided that a Sarpanch suspended from office under the provisions of the Orissa Grama Panchayats Act, 1964 shall cease to be a member of the Samiti during the period of his suspension and the Naib Sarpanch or, in his absence, the person elected or nominated under Section 21 of the said Act to exercise the powers and perform the functions of the Sarpanch shall be deemed to be a member of the Samiti in place of the Sarpanch so suspended.

Explanation-For the purpose of clause (b), ‘constituency’ shall mean a constituency as may be determined under sub-section (2-A) subject to Article 243-C of the Constitution.

Provided where the population of Scheduled Caste or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribe in a Samiti area is not sufficient for reservation of any seat, one seat for the Scheduled Caste, or as the case may be, one seat for the Scheduled Tribe shall be reserved in that Samiti area.

Provided further that in the Scheduled Areas, not less than one-half of the total number of seats to be filled by such direct election shall be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.

for women belonging to Scheduled Caste or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes :

 

Provided that where only two seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes, one of the two seats shall be reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Caste or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes.

(b-1) As nearly as may be, but not less than twenty-seven percentum of the total number of seats to be filled up by direct election in every Samiti shall be reserved in favour of backward class of citizens as referred to in clause (6) of Article 243-D of the constitution in the prescribed manner and shall be allotted by rotation to different constituencies thereof :

Provided that where, after reservation of the required number of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in a Samiti, the remaining seats are found to be insufficient for the purpose of reservation in favour of Backward Class of Citizens, as nearly as may be, but not less than twenty-seven percentum of the remaining seats shall be reserved in favour of such citizens in that Samiti.

(b-2) As nearly as may be, but not less than one-half of the total number of seats reserved under clause (b-1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the backward class of citizen :

Provided that where only two seats are reserved for the backward class of citizen, one of the two seats shall be reserved for women belonging to the backward class of citizen; and

(2-A) The manner in which the Samiti area shall be divided into constituencies for the purpose of clause (b) of sub-section

Provided that where a constituency comprises more than one Grama, the constituency shall bear the name of the Grama of which the population is higher or, as the case may be, the highest.

Provided that in the case of every Samiti of which the Chairman elected in accordance with this sub-section or nominated under Section 45-C is not a woman, the office of the Vice-Chairman is respect of this Samiti shall be deemed to have been reserved for women.

(3-a) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in sub-section(l)-

Provided that in the Scheduled Area, offices of Chairman of all the Samitis shall be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes; and

[(ii) as nearly as may be, but not less than one-half of the total number of offices of Chairmen reserved under clause (i) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes, or as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes;

(ii-a) as nearly as may be, twenty-seven percentum of the offices of Chairmen in Samitis shall also be reserved in favour of Backward Class of Citizens as referred to in clause (6) of Article 243-D of the Constitution.

(ii-b) as nearly as may be, one-half of the total number of offices of Chairmen reserved under clause (ii-a) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Backward Class of Citizens; and

as nearly as may be, but not less than one-half* (including the number of offices reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Backward Class of citizens) of the total number of offices of Chairman in Samitis shall be reserved for women; and

(3-b) The reservation of seats under clause (a) and (b) of sub-section (2) and the reservation of offices of Chairman (other than reservation for women) and Backward Class of citizens under sub-section (3-a) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period specified in Aritcle 334 of the Constitution.

(3-c) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the Government may nominate to a Samiti in the Scheduled Areas persons belonging to such Scheduled Tribes as have no representation in the Samiti :

Provided that such nomination shall not exceed one-tenth of the total members to be elected under clause (b) of sub­section (1).

16-A Notwithstanding anything contained in th Orissa Panchayat Samiti Act, 1959 or in the Orissa Grama Panchayats Act, 1964, a person elected as a member of a Samiti and as the Sarpanch or a member of a Grama Panchayat shall, unless he submits to the Collector his resignation from one of the offices to which he has been so elected within a period of seven days from the date of publication of the notification under sub-section (6) of Section 16, be deemed to have ceased to hold the office of the Sarpanch or, as the case may be, the member of the Grama Panchayat on and from the expiry of the said period.

16-B.(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections of Samitis shall be vested in the Election Commission.

19.(1) The executive authority of the Samiti shall vest in the Chairman and it shall be his duty to have the resolution of the Samiti implemented through the Executive officer of the Samiti.


CHAPTER VI
CONTROL

 

40-A(1) If in the opinion of the Government the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman or any member elected under clause (h) of sub-section (1) of Section 16 or nominated under Section 45-C of the Samiti wilfully omits or refuses to carry out or, violates the provisions of this Act or any rules, bye-laws or orders made or issued thereunder or abuses the powers vested in him and Government are satisfied, that further continuance of such person in office would be detrimental to the interest of the Samiti they may, by order,
published in the prescribed manner, remove such Chairman or Vice-Chairman or member, as the case may be, from office :

Provided that no such order for removal shall be made without giving the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

41.(1) If in the opinion of the Government a Samiti is not competent to perform or persistently makes default in performing the duties imposed on by law or exceeds or abuses its powers they may by notification published in the prescribed manner, direct that the Samiti be dissolved.

If after the fresh election held under the last preceding section, the (**) Samiti continues to be incompetent to perform or abuse it powers for all or any of the reasons specified in sub-section

 

CHAPTER VI-A
ELECTION DISPUTES

 

44-A No election of a person as a member of a Samiti held under this Act shall be called in question except by an election petition presented in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

44-B(1) The petition shall be presented on one or more of the grounds specified in Section 44-L before the Civil Judge (Senior Division) having jurisdiction over the place at which the office of the Samiti is situated together with a deposit of two hundred rupees as security for costs within fifteen days after the day
on which the result of the election was announced ;

Provided that if the office of the Civil Judge (Senior Division)is closed on the last day of the period of limitation as aforesaidthe petition may be presented on the next day on which suchoffice is open ;

Provided further that if the petitioner satisfies the Civil Judge (Senior Division) that sufficient cause existed for the failure to present the petition within the period aforesaid the Civil Judge (Senior Division) may in his discretion condone such failure :
Provided also that in cases where the result of the election was announced prior to the 26th January 1961, the aforesaid period of limitation shall be computed from the said date.

44-C. (1) An election petition may be presented by any candidate at such election.

44-D. (1) An election petition—

(2) Any Schedule or Annexure to the petition shall also be signed by the petitioner and verified in the same manner as the petition.

A petitioner may, in addition to claiming a declaration that the election of all or any of the returned candidates is void, claim a further declaration that he himself or any other candidate has been duly elected.

44-F. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and of any rules made thereunder every election petition shall be tried by the Civil Judge (Senior Division) as nearly as may be in accordance with the procedure applicable under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to the trial of suits.

44-G. Any appearance, application or act before the Civil Judge (Senior Division) may be made or done by the party in person or by a pleader duly appointed to act on his behalf :

Provided that it shall be open to the Civil Judge (Senior Division) to direct any party to appear in person whenever the Civil Judge (Senior Division) considers it necessary.

44-H. The Civil Judge (Senior Division) shall have the powers which are vested in a Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 when trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely :-

and may summon and examine suo motu any person whose evidence appears to it to be material and shall be deemed to be a Civil Court within the meaning of Sections 480 and 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

44-I. (1) When in an election petition a declaration that any candidate other than the returned candidate has been duly elected is claimed, the returned candidate or any other party may give evidence to prove that the election of such candidate would have been void if he had been the returned candidate and
a petition had be presented calling in question his election :

Provided that the returned candidate or such other party as aforesaid shall not be entitled to give such evidence unless he has, within fourteen days from the date of commencement of the trial, given notice to the Civil Judge (Senior Division) of his intention to do so and has also given the security and the further security referred to in Sections 44-B and 44-F respectively.

(2) Every notice referred to in sub-section (1) shall be accompanied by the statement and particulars required by Section 44-D in the case of an election petition and shall be signed and verified in like manner.

44-J. (1) If the Civil Judge (Senior Division), after making such enquiry, as he deem necessary, finds in respect of any person whose election is called in question by a petition that his election was valid, he shall dismiss the petition as against such person and may award costs at his discretion.

whichever course appears, in the circumstances of the case to be more appropriate and in either case, may award costs at his discretion.

Provided that the Civil Judge (Senior Division) may, on application presented within one month from the date of any of the orders made under this section or under Section 44-K by any person aggrieved, review such order on any ground and may, pending decision in review, direct stay of operation of such order.

44-K. At the time of making an order under Section 44-J the Civil Judge (Senior Division) shall also make an order—

44-L. (1) The Civil Judge (Senior Division) shall declare the electionof a returned candidate void, if he is of the opinion—

(2) The election shall not be declared void merely on the ground of any mistake in the forms required thereby or of any error, irregularity of informality on the part of the Officer or Officers charged with carrying out the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder unless such mistake, error,
irregularity or informality has materially affected the result of the election.

44-M. If any person who has lodged a petition has, in addition to calling in question the election of the returned candidate, claimed a declaration that he himself or any other candidate has been duly elected and the Civil Judge (Senior Division) is of opinion—

the Civil Judge (Senior Division) shall after declaring the election of the returned candidate to be void declare the petitioner or such other candidate, as the case may be, to have been duly elected.

44-N. The following shall be deemed to be corrupt practices for the purpose of this Chapter, namely :-

(1) bribery, that is to say, any gift, offer or promise by a candidate or by any other person on his behalf or any gratification to any person whomsoever-

Explanation—For the purposes of this clause, the term “gratification” includes all forms of entertainment and all forms of employment for rewards; but it does not include the payment of any expenses bonafidely incurred for the purposes of such election;

Provided that—

caste, race, community or religion or of the use of national symbols, such as, the National Flag or the National Emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the candidate’s election;

Provided that the hiring of vehicle or vessel by an elector or by several electors at their joint cost for purpose of conveying him or them to or from any such polling station or place fixed for the poll, shall not be deemed to be a corrupt practice under this clause if the vehicle or vessel so hired is a vehicle or vessel not propelled by mechanical power :

Provided further that the use of any public transport vehicle or railway carriage by any elector at his own cost for the purpose of going to or coming from any polling station or place, shall not be deemed to be a corrupt practice under this clause.

Explanation—In this clause the expression “Vehicle” means any vehicle used or capable of being used for the purpose of road transport whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise and whether used for drawing other vehicles or otherwise ;

Provided that if there are more petitioners than one, no application to withdraw the election petition shall be made except with the consent of all the petitioners.

44-P. (1) An election petition shall abate only on the death of the petitioner or where there are more than one petitioner on the death of all the petitioners and such abatement shall be communicated to the concerned of Block Development Officer by the Civil Judge (Senior Division).

44-Q. Any person aggrieved by an order passed by the Civil Judge (Senior Division) under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 44-J, may, within such period as may be prescribed, prefer an appeal before the District Judge having jurisdication

CHAPTER VII
MISCELLANEOUS

 

  1. (1 )(a) A person shall not be eligible to stand for election under sub- section (1) of Section 16 if he-

(k-1) is a member of the House of the people or of the Council of States or of the State Legislature; or

(m-1) being a member of any Society registered under the Orissa Co-operative Societies Act, 1951 has failed to pay any arrears of any kind accrued due by him to such Society for a continuous period of two years or more; or

Provided that the disqualification under clause (h) or (i) may be removed by the Government in the prescribed manner :

Provided further that the disqualification under clause (v) shall not apply to a person who has more than two children on the date of commencement of the Orissa Panchayat Samiti (Amendmet) Act, 1994 or, as the case may be, within a period of one year of such commencement, unless the begets an additional child after the said period of one year.

(a) any member including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman desiring to absent himself from a meeting of the Samiti shall submit his written application to the Samiti through the Block Development Officer prior to the date of such meeting;

Explanation-The meetings which are adjourned without transacting any business shall not be reckoned as ordinary meetings of
the Samiti; or

45-B.(1) Whenever it is alleged that any member of a Samiti is or has become disqualified, or whenever any such member is himself in doubt whether or not he is or has become disqualified such member or any other member may and the Chairman at the request of the Samitis, shall apply to the District Judge, having jurisdiction over the place where the office of the Samiti is situated, for a decision on the allegation or doubt.

return a candidate in accordance with any of the provisions of this Act a fresh election shall be held in respect of the vacancy on such date and in such manner as may be prescribed and in case the electorate still fails to return a member at such fresh election, the State Government shall nominate a person who is otherwise eligible to be elected and the person so nominated, shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 45 be deemed to have been validly and properly elected.

  1. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman or any Member of the Samiti may resign his office as such Chairman, Vice-Chairman or Member by giving notice in writing to the Samiti. Except in a case where the person resigning deliver the notice of resignation personally to the Block Development Officer, such officer shall, on receipt of a notice of resignation, obtain confirmation from the person concerned as to its genuineness. A resignation delivered personally or confirmed as aforesaid, shall take effect on and from the date on which the notice was received.

behalf a resolution is passed, supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members having a right to vote, recording want of confidence in the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of such Samiti, the resolution shall forthwith be published by such authority and in such manner as may be prescribed and with effect from the date of such publication the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have vacated office.

) In convening a meeting under sub-section (1) and in the conduct of business at such meeting the procedure herein specified shall be followed, namely-

(f-1) no such resolution shall be taken up for consideration unless it has been proposed by one member and has been seconded by another member at meeting;

(f-2) after the resolution is taken up for consideration, the member proposing the resolution may open the discussion thereon and other members may speak on the resolution in the order in which they are called upon by the Presiding Officer :

Provided that no member shall, unless so permitted by the Presiding Officer have the right to speak more than once and if any member who is called upon does not speak he shall not be entitled, except by the permission of the Presiding Officer, to speak at a later stage of the discussion;

(f-3) where the Chairman or, as the case may be, the Vice­Chairman against whom the resolution has been tabled, is present, he shall be given an opportunity to speak by way of reply to the resolution and the discussion made at the meeting;

(f-4) the Presiding Officer may fix the time within which each member, including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, shall conclude his speech;

Provided that all requisitions received under sub-section (2) prior to the date of commencement of the Orissa Panchayat Samiti (Second Amendment) Act, 1993, on which no meeting for recording want of confidence has been held by the said date, shall stand abated.

  1. (1) If the elected member of the Samiti ceases to be a member by reason of his death, resignation or otherwise the vacancy so caused shall be filled up, so far as may be, in the manner provided under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 16 and the member so elected shall hold office for the unexpired term of the member in whose place he has been elected.
  1. No act or proceeding of the Samiti shall be questioned on account of any vacancy in the membership or any defect or irregularity in any such Act or proceeding not affecting the merits of the case.
  2. (1) Every Samiti, unless sooner dissolved or superseded under this Act shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (3) of Section 16, and no longer :

Provided that a Samiti constituted on the dissolution or supersession of a Samiti before the expiration of  its durationshall continue only for the remainder of the period for which the dissolved or, as the case may be, superseded Samiti would have continued under this sub-section had it not been so dissolved or, as the case may be, superseded.

(2) An election to constitute a Samiti shall be completed-

Provided that where the remainder of the period for which the dissolved or, as the case may be, superseded Samiti would have continued is less than six months, it shall not be necessary to hold any election under this sub-section for constituting the Samiti for such period.

52.(1) The Chairman, the Vice-Chairman and the employees of the Samiti shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

(2) The employees of the Samiti shall be governed by the Orissa Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 1959.

  1. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person in respect of anything done or intended to be done in good faith under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

57.(1) The Government may, after previous publication, make rules consistent with the provisions of this Act to carry out all or any of the purposes of this Act and prescribe forms for any matter for which they consider that a form should be provided.

(iii) (a) regulation of all elections under this Act including deposits to be made by candidates at an election to the office of the Chairman, the conditions for forfeiture of refund of such deposit and the qualifications of a proposer or seconder; and

57-A.(1) Subject to such rules as may be made, a Samiti may, with the approval of the Collector, make bye-laws for carrying out any of the purposes for which it is constituted.

(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1) if any doubt or difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Government may, as occasion may require, do anything which appears to them necessay for the purpose of removing the doubtor difficulty.