Article 243D provides for reservation of seats at all levels for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and women. While the reservation for the SCs/STs is as per their actual proportion in a population of the concerned area. Let’s take, for example, the Scheduled Castes which constitute 30% of the total population
and the Scheduled Tribes at 21%, then 30% and 21% seats shall be reserved for them respectively.
Since the Panchayat Raj Act do not automatically cover the scheduled areas, The Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) was in acted on 24 December 1996 to enable Tribal Self Rule in these areas. The Act has also been extended the provisions of Panchayats to the tribal areas of nine states that have Fifth Schedule Areas. It should also be noted that most of the Northeastern states falling under Sixth Schedule Areas (where autonomous councils exist) are not covered by PESA, the reason being, they have their own Autonomous councils for
governance. The nine states with Fifth Schedule areas are Orissa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh. However, it is a clear indication that sincere implementation of PESA has not been seriously attempted by the state governments.
In Union of India v. Rakesh Kumar, It was held that Jharkhand Panchayat Raj Act 2001[sec 21(B),40(B),55(B)] providing 100% reservation in favour of scheduled tribes for chairman’s position in panchayats located in the scheduled area in Jharkhand is constitutionally permissible. The SC, thus allows parliament to provide the ‘modifications and exceptions’ expressly in the application of part IX to scheduled areas.
Article 243 D of the Constitution of India mandates that at least one-third of the total number of seats filled by direct elections in the Panchayats shall be reserved for women. However, The Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment) Bill, 2009 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 26, 2009 by the then Minister of Panchayati Raj, Shri C.P. Joshi inorder to amend Article 243 D of the Constitution of India. The bill is aiming at increasing the proportion of women to be the part of panchayats from one third to one half. It is be noted that the states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Tripura have already a reservation for 50% of their posts for women.
A State may by law make provision for similar reservation of the offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at the village and other levels. These reservations favouring the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall cease to be operative at the period specified in Article 334. A State may by law also reserve seats or offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayat at any level in favour of backward classes of citizens.