होम News Jharkhand’s PESA Act Empowerment: Draft Rules Set to Transform Tribal Governanc

Jharkhand’s PESA Act Empowerment: Draft Rules Set to Transform Tribal Governanc

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In a significant development for tribal-dominated regions in Jharkhand, the Panchayati Raj department of the Jharkhand government has unveiled the draft rules for implementing the Panchayat (Extension of Schedule Area) Act, 1996. This long-awaited move is poised to grant extensive powers and autonomy to gram sabhas (village councils) across the scheduled areas of the state.{Jharkhand’s PESA Act}

The new rules, comprising 17 chapters and 36 sections, are currently under review and are expected to be submitted to the cabinet for approval in the near future. These regulations are of particular significance in Jharkhand, where 13 out of the 23 districts are predominantly tribal and fall under the fifth schedule of the Constitution.

The PESA Act, enacted by the Parliament, aims to empower gram sabhas in various domains within the scheduled areas. However, its full implementation was hindered due to the absence of PESA rules, which were to be formulated by individual state governments.

Key highlights of the proposed rules include granting traditional heads the authority to preside over Gram Sabha meetings, empowering Gram Sabha to consent to land-related transactions, and mandating that the police inform Gram Sabha within 48 hours of any arrests made in the village. Under these rules, Gram Sabha will have the right to reclaim tribal land taken fraudulently or in violation of the law. The rules also provide for the appeal of Gram Sabha decisions to higher traditional judicial bodies or high courts.

Additionally, the rules bestow the power to establish funds, select beneficiaries under Article 275-1 of the Constitution, and impose fines ranging from ₹10 to ₹1,000 for violations of certain IPC sections, including rioting, pollution of water bodies, theft, defamation, and more.

Director of the Panchayati Raj department, Neha Oraon, emphasized that the draft incorporated suggestions from various stakeholders, ensuring alignment with High Court and Supreme Court rulings. The draft draws inspiration from the Jharkhand Panchayati Raj Act, the fourth section of the PESA Act, 2009, and the draft proposal provided by the Centre to guide the formulation of the draft.

Oraon further confirmed that the draft would be formally notified following cabinet approval, marking a significant step toward empowering local self-governance and preserving tribal rights in Jharkhand’s scheduled areas. Stay tuned for updates on this pivotal development.

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