LAKHIMPUR: The Panchayati Raj Institutions of Assam— Gaon Panchayats, Anchalik Panchayats and Zila Parishads have stood dissolved with effect from February 4 as the term of the same, that is five years, was over on Saturday and the election to them could not be held within the permissible time limit as per The Assam Panchayat Act, 1994.
It should be noted here that the last election to the Gaon Panchayats, Anchalik Panchayats and Zila Parishads of the State were held in 2018 in two phases, on December 5 and December 9. The counting of votes started on December 12 and results were declared on December 15. More than 15.6 million eligible people cast votes in that election and voter turnout was over 78 per cent as per record. The Panchayati Raj Institutions became functioning from February 4 in 2019.
According to the Section 7 of The Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, “Every Gaon Panchayat, save as otherwise provided in this Act, shall continue for a term of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting: Provided that the term of the office fixed under this sub-section shall be held to include any period which may elapse between the expiration of the said period and the date of the first meeting of the Gaon Panchayat newly constituted in which a quorum shall be present when a Gaon Panchayat shall stand dissolved.”
According to the same Act, the election to constitute the Panchayati Raj Institutions, including the Gaon Panchayat should be completed before the expiration of its duration specified in Section 7. But the Government of Assam had initiated no steps to conduct the same within the specified period. Under such circumstances, the Government of Assam, through an order by the Governor Notification, has allowed the District Commissioner or his authorized officers concerned to officiate as the ‘custodian’ of the property of Gaon Panchayats, Anchalik Panchayats and Zilla Parishads for the ‘Gap Period’
The order issued by JB Ekka, Principal Secretary to the Government of Assam, Panchayat & Rural Development Department, vide No.E-440859/61, Dated Dispur, the 3rd February, 2024, said, “The Governor of Assam is pleased to allow the concerned District Commissioner or his authorized officers to officiate as the Custodian of the property of Gaon Panchayat, Anchalik Panchayat and Zilla Parishad for the Gap Period (i.e. after completion of the term and till completion of the Election Process) as election cannot be held within the permissible time limit.”