153. Election of President and Vice-President

  1. In every Panchayat there shall be a President and a Vice-President elected from among the elected members of that Panchayat in accordance with the provisions of this Act 59[and the president shall be full ime functionary of the Panchayat]
  2. On the constitution of a panchayat or on its reconstitution under any provision of this Act, there shall be called a meeting [by the Returning Officer referred to in sub-section (6)]60 for the election of its President and Vice-President from among the elected members of that Panchayat.
  3. ..
    1. The offices of President of Village Panchayats, Block panchayats and district panchayats in the State shall be reserved by the Government for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the number of the offices of President reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the panchayats at each level in the state shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of offices of President at each level as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the Scheduled Tribes in the State bears to the total population of the State;
    2. (i) One-third each of the total number of offices of President of village panchayats, block panchayats and district panchayats in the State reserved under clause (a); and
      (ii) One-third each of the total number of offices of President of village Panchayats, block Panchayats and district Panchayats in the State, not so reserved, shall be reserved by the Government, for women.
  4. 61[
    1. The offices of the President reserved under sub-section (3) shall be allotted to every level of Panchayat in the different districts by the State Election Commission by notification in the Gazette.
    2. In the case of Block Panchayats and Village Panchayats the reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be allotted proportionate to their population in the respective districts.
    3. In the case of Village Panchayat, the reserved seats in each district shall be distributed among the Village Panchayats within the area of the various Block Panchayats in the district.
    4. Before issuing notification for General election, the 62[State Election Commission shall allot by rotation the reserved seats under clause (a), (b) and (c) and the rotation shall start from the Panchayat in which the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or women have the larges percentage of population and then passed on to the next panchayat having their largest percentage of population and so on:
      Provided that where the Panchayat the office of President of which is to be reserved for women and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is one and the same, in so reserving the Office of President preference shall be given to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes and in lieu, the office of the President in the Panchayat net having their largest percentage population of women shall be reserved for women:
      Provided further that in Panchayats the office of President of which is reserved for the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes, those in which the women have the more percentage of population of women shall be reserved for women belonging to them.
      Provided also that office of President of any panchayat shall be reserved for the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes or women belonging to them only if at least one constituency of that Panchayat is reserved for that category.]
  5. The meeting for the lection of President and Vice President shall be held on such day within three weeks from the date on which the names of members elected are published by the State Election Commission as may be fixed by the State Election Commission.
  6. For the election of the President and the Vice-President of panchayats the State Election Commission shall designate or nominate an officer of the Government or local authority as the Returning officer.
  7. It shall be the duty of the Returning Officer to do all such acts and things as may be necessary for the effectively conducting the election in the manner prescribed.
    63[7. (a) The election shall be by open ballot and the member voting shall, record in writing his name and signature on the reverse side of the ballot paper.]
  8. A member who has not entered upon his office after making and subscribing an affirmation or oath under section 152 shall not have the right to vote for electing President or Vice-President.
  9. If at an election held under sub-section (2), no President or Vice-President is elected a fresh election shall be held for electing the President or Vice-President, the case may be.
  10. The result of the election of the President and the Vice-President of Panchayats shall be published by the State Election Commission in such manner as may be prescribed.
  11. A President shall be deemed to have vacated his office on the expiry of his term of office as member or on his being sentenced by a criminal court for the imprisonment for any offence involving moral delinquency or on his otherwise ceasing to be a member of that Panchayat.
  12. A Vice-President shall be deemed to have vacated his office –
    1. on the expiry of his term of office as member or on his being sentenced by a criminal court for imprisonment for any offence involving moral delinquency or on his otherwise ceasing to be a member, or
    2. on his election as President.
  13. Before entering upon the offices, an oath or affirmation in the form set out in the Second Schedule shall be made and subscribed by the President of a panchayat at any level before the office authorised by the Government in this behalf and by the Vice-President before the President.
  14. Where a dispute arises as to the validity of an election of President or Vice-President of a Panchayat, any member of that Panchayat may file a petition.
    1. in the case of Village Panchayat before the Munsiff Court having jurisdiction over the area in which its headquarters is situated.
    2. in the case of Block Panchayat or District Panchayat, before the District Court having jurisdiction over the area in which its headquarters is situated for decision and such decision shall be final.
      [64(14) a) the validity of the election of the President or the Vice-President of a Panchayat shall not be called in question for the reason of any vacancy in the place of the members or who shall elect President or Vice-President for the reason of the absence of any member.]
  15. Every petition 65[referred to in sub-section (14)] shall be disposed of in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act 5 of 1908) while trying a suit
  16. Any casual vacancy arising in the office of the President or Vice-President of a Panchayat shall be reported to the State Election Commission in such manner as may be prescribed and the State election Commission shall take steps for the conduct of election of President or Vice-President, as the case may be, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  17. Save as otherwise provided in this Act the term of office of the President and Vice-President of a Panchayat at any level shall be co-extensive with the duration of that Panchayat.

59Substituted by Act 13 of 1999.
60Substituted by Act 13 of 1999.
61Substituted by Act 7 of 1995.
62Substituted by Act 7 of 1995.
63Substituted by Act 11 of 1999.
64Ibid