Proposal to amend JK Panchayati Raj Act for direct election of sarpanches okayed
Srinagar: The State Administrative Council (SAC) has approved a proposal to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act which will provide for election of a sarpanch directly by the electorate.
According to an official spokesperson, the SAC also directed the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to initiate the process of holding elections to panchayats in consultation with the Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer.
“The SAC approved the proposal to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, for conducting elections of sarpanches of halqa panchayats directly by the electorate and not by indirect method of electing sarpanches from among the panches,” the spokesperson said after the meeting of the council yesterday.
He said this will restore the original position in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, which provided for direct elections of sarpanches, which was altered by an amendment passed in 2016.
The meeting yesterday was chaired by Governor N N Vohra and attended by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, and advisors to the governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai.
“The need for this amendment was to restore the primacy and importance of the sarpanches in the Panchayati Raj System and giving them the necessary legitimacy to be able to discharge their functions.
“This provides stability in the Panchayati Raj System and ensures accelerated development which meets local needs. Direct elections also make the sarpanches accountable to the people rather than to an intermediate group. Further, this amendment brings the spirit of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act,” the spokesperson said.