CM tells Church: Gram Sabha not a final authority

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 17 May 2013 16:56 IST

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar has told the Church-run organization that Gram Sabha cannot be the final authority on issuing construction license, but the panchayat council.

Parrikar has responded to the letter written by Council for Social Justice and Action, demanding apology from the chief minister for terming Gram Sabhas as mere watch dog and not the final authority.

Stating that “Gram Sabha resolutions are binding upon the Panchayat body”, the CSJA had also stated in its letter, “provided it is not contrary to the rules and regulations framed under the Panchayat Act or any other law in force (Sub-section 4 of Section 6 of Goa Panchayat Raj Act, 1994)”.

 According to chief minister, section 66 of the Panchayat Act rules require the resolution number and date of the meeting of the Panchayat in which the permission for construction was approved.

“These provisions contained in Goa Panchayat Raj Act and Rules clearly and in unequivocal terms lay down the powers of the Panchayats with regard to issue of construction of licenses”, states the chief minister.

Quoting sub-section 4 of Section 6 of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act regarding binding nature of Gram Sabha resolutions, Parrikar has stated that the functions of Gram Sabha and its resolutions are thus subject to limitations.

Parrikar also indicates that the Gram Sabha cannot have over riding powers, contrary to the rules and regulations framed under the Panchayat Raj Act.

The chief minister, in his letter, however does not forget to state that “I fervently hope that the panchayats which are elected bodies representing the Gram Sabha would take due cognizance of the sentiments of the Gram Sabha while exercising their powers”.

According to CSJA, the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India are about real participatory democracy with Gram Sabha as the fulcrum of local self-governance.

According to CSJA, Panchayat Raj is not a representative democracy but is about direct democracy.

But the chief minister has pointed out in his letter that regarding issuing construction license, what matters is the approval of the representatives sitting in the panchayat council and not the people who gather at Gram Sabha. 

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